I’m excited to share that The Fierce Woman has selected Emani Davis as it’s third and last honoree for the 2016 FIERCE Woman of the Year award.
Emani Davis is the co-creator and partner at Life.Beautiful Event Planning, serving Westchester County, NYC and the Tristate area. Over the years Emani has grown a commendable portfolio in social work relating to family counseling, rights of the child, rehabilitation and community leadership in New York and California. Staying true to her mission, Life.Beautiful is committed to serving clients whose work expresses the company’s commitment to social justice and equality.
Prior to launching Life.Beautiful, Emani was an independent consultant, providing criminal justice related consulting services to various agencies and programs in New York and California. She has been an advocate for the rights of children of incarcerated parents and in 2004 was the first American nominated for the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child for her work on behalf of children of prisoners.
Emani has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology with a concentration in African Studies from Manhattanville College, NY, certifications in health education and massage therapy from the National Holistic Institute (2005, CA) and is a certified facilitator of Framework for Breaking Barriers and Framework for Recovery, cognitive restructuring programs (2006, Gordon Graham and Company). She has taught parenting classes for fathers in New York State prisons and Rikers Island, and in various prisons throughout the U.S. Her training and experience has helped her to successfully prepare incarcerated fathers to take a responsible role in raising their children from prison and following release.
In addition to her academic and teaching portfolio Emani has led the implementation of new program initiatives nationally, including a mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents in northern California and a defender-based advocacy program for parents in San Francisco, as well as C.A.S.A.’s Project Family Connect in New York City’s Family Courts. She has provided a wide range of youth and children’s services in East Oakland and Richmond, CA including direct case management services, violence interruption, and gang intervention. Emani also provided training and technical assistance to the Oakland Police Department on youth violence related issues.
When asked how she uses her platform to inspire and empower other women Emani says:
“Representation is a form of social justice, but that is where we start, it is not where we end. In the event planning industry, there are few women of color. Therefore, when any of us do anything, we have to be responsible for the precedent we set. Still, we are able to infuse a knowing about the people that our clients serve so that we can create an experience that is culturally relevant and necessary. Thus, we must be thoughtful of the work that we do and share. At the same time, we align ourselves with causes we believe in; causes that make our communities and ultimately, the world, better and more inclusive.
Every interaction we have with other women is based on possibility because we know that we’ve done something that many women do not give themselves permission to do. I never miss an opportunity to let a woman know that I am a business owner. I want women, especially women of color, to know that it’s for us, too. It’s not just reserved for well-to-do women. In doing this, I hope to inspire women to know that whatever their abilities and talents, business ownership is possible. We reject the gendered notion that women are supposed to think, live, dream and play small.
Similarly, our intention and presence gives others permission to see themselves living out their dreams while using their gifts for the greater good. I started this business as a single mother. As mothers, we are now responsible for the lives of others. I know that this responsibility often discourages women from taking risks. But even through the fear and financial anxiety, motherhood can serve as motivation and inspiration to pursue your dreams. It makes me proud that my daughter is growing up knowing that her mother is a business owner. She is provided with a firsthand example of what fierce dreaming and goal setting can mean for her own life.