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Octavia Toliver celebrates 7th annual Atlanta Cigar Week as woman co-founder

The Casino Night Awards Gala honored Kevin Liles with the trailblazer award

Octavia Toliver, co-founder of Atlanta Cigar Week alongside her partners Henry Stokes and Tony Hall, is making waves as a social influencer, cigar sommelier, and curator. Her focus is on creating unforgettable VIP experiences, especially for women.

The 7th Annual Atlanta Cigar Week recently celebrated its community with a Casino Night Awards Gala on Sept. 11, also honoring music executive Kevin Liles with the Trailblazer Award.

Toliver opens up about her experience as a woman founder in a traditionally male-dominated space.

What was your inspiration behind Atlanta Cigar Week as the co-founder?

Ultimately, Atlanta is the best cigar market in the country, and I don’t think [that] people recognize that. My partners and I wanted to do something that [would] put a spotlight on Atlanta and [be] able to showcase everything [it has] to offer — from cigar lounges to cigar shops, to various places that are cigar-friendly. I think we’ve done that. I’m very excited about where we started and where we’ve gone in seven years.

How does it feel to be a woman founder in a male-dominated space?

It’s funny because [when] I first started smoking cigars, which was 15 or 16 years ago, I genuinely wanted to learn about cigars. I wasn’t there for the men, and I didn’t have a reason aside from the cigars. [The environment] wasn’t the most friendly atmosphere, so I like to think [that] I added to the culture in a way that made it a lot more acceptable [and] a lot more female-friendly. At this point, it’s not about male or female; it’s just about having a good time around the culture. … At the end of the day, women are very powerful, and I use my womanhood to my advantage.

What is your message to women everywhere?

Use your womanhood as power. We are very powerful beings, we are intuitive, [and] we are empathetic, and we’re able to understand what people want because that’s the motherly, nurturing side of us. Use that to your advantage. [Whether] it’s a male-dominated space like this one, or if it’s not, you have something to offer to the masses [that] people are waiting for. … Find your niche, [and] find a way to not look at what someone else is doing and say, “Let me do the same.” No, I’m looking at what they’re doing. and I’m saying, “Let me do something different.” How can I change it, or how can I make this more into something I want to do? For me, it was that. I created something that wasn’t widely available and made it available for both women and men.

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