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Reflections on All About the Girls Part 9: Empowerment, Belonging, and Inspiration

As the founder and emcee of All About the Girls (AATG), I am filled with gratitude and pride as I reflect on Part 9 of our annual event. Organized by GreatNews.Life, AATG has become a meaningful gathering for women in our region, offering a space for empowerment, inspiration, and community. This year’s theme, “I Belong,” resonated deeply with everyone in attendance, including our seven remarkable speakers who shared their journeys of overcoming adversity and finding their place in this world.

The atmosphere was electric as we kicked off the night, with attendees eagerly anticipating the inspiring stories and powerful messages from our speakers. I started by giving my heartfelt thanks to our incredible sponsors and the dedicated team at GreatNews.Life, whose hard work and dedication make this event possible. Special shout-outs went to Kami, the driving force behind AATG, and Ashley Spargo, our new Director of Operations, whose contributions have been invaluable.

Our theme this year, “I Belong,” holds special significance for me. It’s a deeply personal concept that I’ve grappled with throughout my life. Growing up as a chubby kid named Jenny Craig in the ’90s came with its own set of challenges, and I often felt like an outsider. It wasn’t until I joined GreatNews.Life over 11 years ago that I truly felt like I belonged. This company and its incredible people have provided a sense of community and support that has been life-changing for me.

Reflecting on this theme, I realized how vital it is for everyone to feel that they belong. AATG aims to create a space where women can come together, support one another, and build a community where everyone feels accepted and valued. The speakers this year embodied this spirit, sharing stories of resilience, strength, and the power of self-acceptance.

Drew Sarkisian, the owner of Modern Edge LLC, captivated us with her story of breaking barriers in a male-dominated field while balancing motherhood and leadership roles. Her journey reminded us that belonging comes from within and is about accepting ourselves fully, flaws and all.

Mandy Krikhan, the founder of The Collective, shared her transformation from a people-pleaser to a confident business owner who found her place by surrounding herself with supportive, like-minded individuals. Her story was a testament to the power of perseverance.

Alyssa Gawlinski, representing Fighting Pretty, inspired us with her tireless dedication to helping others. Her passion for advocacy and volunteerism showed us the impact one person can have when they truly care about their community.

Denise Koebcke, known for her work with Valpo schools, Team LEAD LLC, The Caring Place, and the Boys & Girls Clubs, spoke about her commitment to helping the youth of our community and her journey with adoption. 

Cicily Porter, the youngest speaker this year, brought incredible energy and determination. Her journey from IU Northwest to becoming a news anchor at WSBT Channel 22 is a powerful example of striving for excellence and believing in one’s potential.

Chelsea Whittington, the founder of C Whitt PR, closed the night with a poignant message about the power of storytelling and authenticity. Her journey of building a successful business from the ground up was both inspiring and empowering and we all loved the surprise appearance from her husband and her C WHITT PR cape! 

All About the Girls Part 9 was a night filled with laughter, tears, camaraderie, and empowerment. The theme of “I Belong” was evident in every speech, every interaction, and every moment of the evening. It’s not just a theme; it’s a movement that we are proud to champion.

As we look forward, I invite everyone to join us next year for All About the Girls Part 10. Let’s continue to create spaces where women feel they belong, where their voices are heard, and where their stories inspire others to reach their full potential. Thank you to everyone who attended, supported, and believed in the power of belonging. Together, we are stronger, and together, we belong.