‘At My Age’ women’s wellness forum uplifts, inspires, educates

A NEW NAME—Charlise Smith reveals the new name of her organization, Willissae’s Agency for Vision and Empowerment. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)

Most days you can log on to Facebook and find motivational, uplifting, educational messages posted by Ola Jackson. Information of the same manner are the focus of her two websites; www.onyxwoman.com and www.yourstylishways.com.
During her recent “At My Age” women’s wellness forum, more than 100 participants gained similar information and many hands-on tools and techniques. “The purpose of ‘At My Age’ was to educate and provide participants with information that focused on the issues we must address to become informed evolving women,” said Jackson. “Whether the ladies wanted to start a business, focus on their finances, or needed to learn more about self-care, the At My Age women’s forum covered it.”
Created to address wellness issues relevant to women of color, the forum consisted of a combination of workshops and community awareness activities.
“Eight hundred forty-nine businesses are started by women a day and nine million people are employed by women entrepreneurs,” pointed out Jonnet Solomon-Nowlin during the “What About Me” workshop. The accountant, business strategy consultant and owner of JSA, LLC, informed the participants that entrepreneurship is an alternative to having a job, but a decision of which to be well prepared. Moderated by Orlana Darkins of the Shyne Network, other panelists included Renee Beavers; author and lifestyle brand strategist, and Karen McCormick, a group bank representative for Dollar Bank. The workshop focused on the economic well-being of women who need to balance their work, personal, financial and business life.
NATIONAL RECOGNITION—Ola Jackson, second from right, receives the Entrepreneurship and Communications Leadership Award during the Black Women’s Roundtable Women of Power National Summit in Washington D.C. Presenting the award are Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the NCBCP and BWR Convener; Rev. Dr. Judith C. Moore, Founder and Director of the local BWR Chapter; and Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., chairman of the NCBCP and Chairman of 100 Black Men of America.

Jackson moderated the “Coming of Age: Now What!” workshop that focused on the importance of women taking care of themselves. Panelists included Elaine Jenkins, an AARP volunteer; author Corretta Doctor; Kesi Howard, outreach coordinator for UPMC; and Dr. Anita Edward of Highmark.
Center stage presentations open to the public were presented by Ja’Neen Jones of Three Rivers Adoption Council, Doctor, author of What About Me; and Charlise Smith of Women Against Violence Enterprise (WAVE). More than 20 non-profit and profit-making vendors were on hand, providing information and selling merchandise of all kind.
Not just a Pittsburgh forum, Jackson included experts from Virginia, Alabama and Michigan to participate in the event. Doctor, committed to helping people save their lives or the lives of someone they know from the perils of depression, stress and related mental health conditions that lead to suicidal ideation, is based in Virginia. Located in Alabama, Beavers identifies herself as an entrepreneur, author, whole-person, plant-based lifestyle strategist. And LaTanya Orr, based in Michigan, describes herself as an award-winning designer, brand strategist and visual business growth expert. Her book is called “Strike a Pose: 7 Red Carpet Strategies.”
An unveiling of the new name of Women Against Violence Enterprises also took place during the stage activities. Based in Larimer, WAVE’s mission, according to Smith, is to primarily facilitate safe housing and high quality social services for women and men who reside in subsidized housing and are transitioning from incarceration to help them heal, transform, and rebuild their lives. Named after her mother who was killed in front of her at the age of 3, the organization is now called, Willissae’s Agency for Vision and Empowerment. “Under its new name WAVE will continue to provide social and spiritual empowerment, home ownership programs for its clients,” said Smith.
SHARING OF INFORMATION—Renee Beavers, Jonnet Solomon-Nowlin, Karen McCormick and workshop moderator Orlana Darkins inform participants on how to balance their work, personal, financial and business life.

A very strong advocate, supporter and marketer of women of color, Jackson has been a voice and provides a voice to women through media content focusing on entrepreneurship, finances, career advancement and self-care. Her Onyx Woman Network empire throughout the years has developed to consist of a multimedia network that encompasses broadcast, motivational seminars, Internet and formerly print. Jackson describes OWN as a spin-off of a hard copy magazine. The site, she says, introduces viewers to women who share their experiences, advice, tips and offer encouragement through their inspirational stories. Everyday women with diverse backgrounds discuss issues that impact the quality of life for women, their families, their careers, businesses and healthy lifestyles.
The sister site, Your Stylish Ways, focuses on beauty, fashion, retail, travel, and the lifestyle industry. Its mission is to encourage women to implement lifestyle ideas that are presented to assist them to evolve and grow. The site presents ideas, inspiration and motivation to nurture evolving women and enhance their quality of life.
Jackson earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Robert Morris University, her Associate Degree in Specialized Business and Retail Merchandising from the former Duff’s Business Institute.
“It’s because of activities like the At My Age women’s wellness forum that Ola received the Entrepreneurship and Communications Leadership Award during the Black Women’s Roundtable Women of Power National Summit,” said Rev. Dr. Judith C. Moore, founder and director of the local Black Women’s Roundtable chapter. The seventh annual summit was held in Washington D.C. “Her commitment to uplifting and inspiring women of color mirrors some of the thinking of the BWR. As the women and girls empowerment division of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation it promotes health and wellness, economic security and sustainability and education and global empowerment. I commend Ola for her vision and encourage her to continue her efforts.”
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