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Friday, March 24, 2023

Networking with Intention Women’s Month Brunch Comes to Baltimore

Ja’Nai McKinney, 35, knows that women can benefit from networking with other individuals more often. While Women’s History Month offers a timely opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of American women, it also provides a chance to highlight helpful tools that can be utilized by everyday women who are potentially tomorrow’s trailblazers.

McKinney uses her gift of connecting women with each other by hosting empowerment and networking brunches. Fellow women who attend them are encouraged to bring business cards.

“At the beginning, we ask everyone to walk around and meet new people and exchange information. This gives women a chance to meet and network,” McKinney said, noting that more women are showing up to attend her events. “So far I’ve had women come from Annapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia and D.C.”

Ja’Nai McKinney celebrates one year of hosting networking and empowerment brunches for women.
Photo credit: Catch This Flash Inc.

The Annapolitan’s is a full-time daycare teacher. She also serves as an events manager at Euphoria NightClub, located in Baltimore, Maryland. A year has passed since McKinney began combining food and intentional networking opportunities. Her blossoming idea began by creating an Instagram chat.

“Instagram only allows you to have a certain amount of people in the chat, so I had the idea to do a brunch so I can have more businesswomen come. I felt that women should be able to come together to empower, motivate and uplift each other,” she said. “There were times I needed to lean on other sisters for advice and help, so I wanted to create a safe place where many women could do that.”

Brunches feature different women who come to speak about an array of things that women go through in life.

McKinney, who possesses a family legacy of uplifting others, also helps the homeless and participates in holiday giving events. Her late father, Kirby McKinney served as director of Stanton Community Center in Annapolis. According to McKinney, he worked with former mayors Dean Johnson, Ellen Moyer and Joshua Cohen in Annapolis. Kirby performed various youth services and holiday givebacks.

“My father taught me the love of people, my mother and godmother taught me strength, my sisters taught me motivation, and my daughter and nephews taught me hope,” Ja’Nai said.

Tyrone Davis is Ja’Nai’s brother who kept her motivated after her father’s passing. Davis assists her with community events and givebacks. But Ja’Nai’s signature niche is empowering women. She feels like women are the backbone of households, families and businesses.

“We know how to work through hardships and overcome obstacles,” Ja’Nai said.

She also noted that women can sometimes be hard on each other, but Ja’Nai feels that just one woman can break the cycle and show others how women can “be better together.”

Nailah Queen is a serial entrepreneur who attends Ja’Nai’s events.

“Attending the brunches has been very beneficial to me both personally and professionally. Personally, I have made a vast amount of connections and have built relationships with some amazing women I’ve met at her events. As a speaker, I have been able to showcase my expertise to an audience of women who fit the build for my business coaching clients,” Queen said.

Ja’Nai stated that she hopes that attendees leave her events better than when they entered them.

“I hope they get some type of motivation and encouragement to keep going. I hope they learn things they may not have known. Also, I hope they feel they were able to network and meet different businesswomen,” Ja’Nai stated.

Ja’Nai’s next Women’s Month Brunch will be held on Sunday March 26, 2023, from 12-4 p.m. at Dream Mega Lounge, located at 10 South Calvert St. in Baltimore. Speakers will include Jente Green, Dr. Rhonda Lawson, Dr. Tasheka Green, Jasmine Allen, Asia Williams and Latisha Montague. Amani McGlotten, Ja’Nai’s 14-year-old daughter will present facts about Black women in history.

Ja’Nai added that it is important to celebrate these women during Women’s History Month to pay tribute to women who have paved the way for women today, including younger women who will come after us.

Queen feels that Ja’Nai has a passion for connecting women in a safe space that fosters support, encouragement, collaboration, growth and unity.

“It radiates through her message whenever she speaks life into the women at her events and it’s genuine. She is a woman of God that is walking in her purpose,” she said.

Please visit https://Womensmonthbrunch.eventbrite.com  to obtain more information about Ja’Nai’s next event. The upcoming networking and empowerment brunch will celebrate the one-year anniversary of her efforts to bring women together. Admission is free.

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