The idea to create a women’s summit came to Esther Sarpong-Prime at a time parents know well: that 5 a.m. wake-up from her 6-month-old daughter that almost drove the new mom over the mental edge.
“I just thought I’m losing it a little,” Sarpong-Prime said. “I am so used to being career-first, nothing going to stand in my way, and I thought there’s got to be more women going through this type of thing — trying to find that balance.”
It’s been just two months since that sleepless night, but Sarpong-Prime met several women who could relate and dozens of others with their own unique tales at her inaugural Manifest Summit, hosted and sponsored by Tivoli Village on Saturday morning.
The four-hour event drew 76 attendees, nearly all of them women, according to Sarpong-Prime. A handful of local businesswomen and lifestyle coaches led presentations and smaller group discussions on topics including financial security, entrepreneurship and health and wellness.
Attorney Paola Armeni, a partner at Gentile, Cristalli, Miller, Armeni, Savarese law firm, spoke at length about her climb through the legal ranks to open the discussions. She said women of a slightly older generation faced barriers in their careers that made them hesitant to ask questions, which she encouraged the attendees to do as often as needed.
“Women have had to fight for so long, and they’re so concerned with what others may think that they don’t reach out for help when they should,” Armeni said.
Shannon Stanton Agbotse, a professor at Whittier College in California, led a discussion on personal finances that touched on strategies for dealing with debt or saving for retirement. Lajuana Radcliffe, a life coach and motivational speaker, talked about how to cope with generations of societal pressures dumped on women, often from mother to daughter.
During a group session on business and career goals, Azalee Maslow shared her story of slowly veering from a traditional news media path into a full-time social media consultancy for bands and artists.
She stressed that no experience is too small on the way to building your career, saying her time as a receptionist in college helped her land her first job out of graduate school.
“Everything you are doing might not make sense now, but eventually it will all come together,” Maslow said.
Ariel Campbell, a second-grade teacher at Futuro Academy in east Las Vegas, sat front-and-center for all of the day’s discussions. She said the women inspired her to follow her dream of one day founding a nonprofit dance school.
“They told me how to be confident and eliminate that self-doubt,” Campbell said. “It was great to be able to meet and network with all of these beautiful women.”
Like Campbell, Eliyah Liel said the event gave her the push she needed to decide to start a business helping women recover from childhood trauma — something she once struggled with. Two women at the event talked her through the process of starting a new company, while three others shared business cards and offered to help in the future.
“It was inspiring,” Liel said. “We weren’t just standing around isolated during the breaks. We were all networking. For me, I feel like I had this idea before, but now I have a plan.”