Last week I had an opportunity to be a part of and witness something really special. It’s hard to quite capture the dopeness of it all, but let me at least try.

My mentor, Juanita ‘Busy Bee’ Britton, who you’ve seen featured in my last two blog posts, is not only a phenomenal travel curator of cultural experiences, and Queen Mother in Ghana. She is first and foremost, the consummate businesswoman. Not that she had anything to prove, but she further demonstrated her business prowess by adding yet another retail operation to her portfolio of more than a dozen restaurants and shops in Ronald Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport through her partnership with award-winning airport retailer and restaurateur Paradies Lagardère. And I was blessed to provide communications support for the grand opening of this amazing new store.

The new Goods@DCA, is the first of its kind, boasting 24-7 automation services by way of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology; Clockwork Automated Manicures, a revolutionary technology that delivers flawless, automated manicures in just 15 minutes for $15; state of the art vending machines that offer fresh selections even when the store is closed; and the new “Lift and Learn” Technology, powered by Perch, allowing shoppers to engage with books in an innovative way.

Speaking of books, let me share what amazed me most about this new business concept. Not only did Juanita partner with big corporate entities like Amazon, Starbucks (which opens later this year), and istore Express, which features high-end electronics; she invited DC-based independent bookstore and beloved local treasure MahoganyBooks to be a part of the deal as well. She took this as an opportunity to help elevate the brand and offer national exposure and expansion for another local black-owned business. Now that’s dope!

But let me share with you what brought me the most joy and inspired me to write this month’s musing. At every turn and corner of this grand opening event, I saw a black woman shining. As a black female entrepreneur it was truly inspiring and heartwarming to witness the wildest dreams of my ancestors unfolding in real life.

As I watched the Chief Operating Officer of billion-dollar retailer Paradies Lagardère Nikki Harland come to the podium and offer her warm remarks, I smiled proudly. As I chatted with April D. Ryan, the only Black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House who hosted a book signing for her third book, “Black Women Will Save the World, An Anthem,” my heart fluttered. As I observed award-winning MahoganyBooks co-founder Ramunda Young work the room and warmly smile for photos, I grinned with joy. As I witnessed Denise Rolark Barnes, the publisher and second-generation owner of The Washington Informer, one of the oldest and premiere multimedia organizations serving the African American community in the DMV, capture the moments of the occasion, I nodded in amazement. Naturally, as I watched Juanita Britton, my mentor, stand at the center, orchestrating and coordinating it all, my whole being jumped for joy. And as she continued to humbly uplift and recognize her General Manager of 20+ years Nivlem Dickens, my heart beamed with pride.

Last month, I hosted the second installment of a business concept I started during Women’s History Month this year entitled, SheShines. The purpose of this event series is to honor, feature, and support the businesses of black female entrepreneurs in the DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia region). Essentially, it’s a smaller scale version of what I was able to witness at the Goods@DCA, and it has no doubt further broadened and brightened my vision and dreams for the future. Oh the things we could accomplish by bringing all of our unique, God-given talents and skills into one place! I pray that some day the women of SheShines will inspire the next generation of black females in business because what’s evident is that we shine brighter when we all shine together.

Note: The next time you’re traveling and you happen to be in Terminal 2, Concourse D, be sure to stop by The Goods@DCA to help a sister shine brighter.

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