Radio personality Shayna D and PR extraordinaire Kimberly Natasha are taking the country by storm with their event venture the Diva Lounge. The two ladies who have a passion for bringing people together are honoring women in a variety of fields from D.C. to New Orleans.
How'd the two of you connect and come up with the concept from the Diva Lounge?
Shayna: I started doing the event two and half years ago at a small lounge in NYC as a weekly meetup. I mentioned on Twitter that I needed help expanding it, and Kim reached out to me. I really wanted to kick off the first official Diva Lounge in D.C., and that's where Kim came in.
Kim: The power of Twitter is amazing. I loved the idea of what Shayna was doing and knew that it was really something I wanted to be a part of. After our first event in D.C., it took off from there.
Do you remember the first people you honored and what it felt like?
Kimberly: Yes, it was a great feeling and made us realize how well we worked together. We honored Joi-Marie McKenzie, Yodit Gebreyes and Allison Leaks. Singer Dawn Richard made a special appearance and Paula Campbell hosted. It was surreal.
What moment did you both realize this is something that can be really successful?
Shayna: Well, originally the Diva Lounge was just something I started doing on the side as a cool way to meet other people. Before I ever had a name for the event, I sent out an email to seven women asking them to meet me at this small lounge and for them to each bring one person... [and] 45 people showed up and filled up the space. I thought to myself wow; with some effort this can be amazing.
Kimberly: I've always known we had something great, but last week in NYC we held an event at Tracy Reese that honored some amazing women in public relations, like Jay-Z's publicist Jana Fleishman, Sylvia Rhone and others. These are women I've always admired so for them to be at an event that we put together is almost an indescribable feeling.
Why do you think the Diva Lounge is necessary?
Shayna: There's a lot of networking events out there, but one of the things that makes ours stand out is there's only women in the room. Also, the tone that Kim and I set when we're there makes for a comfortable atmosphere. The whole point of the event is to actually make business connections and not to stand around looking cute with your friends.
Kimberly: I just saw a panel today that Marvet Britto was speaking on and it reminded me why the Diva Lounge is so necessary. All of the males on the panel spoke about how they had these extraordinary mentors, but Marvet said how she didn't have someone approach her because as women we tend to feel threatened or think that someone is trying to take our place. That's what the Diva Lounge does; it connects great women with other great women and it's so needed.
Who would be your absolute dream person to honor?
Shayna: I think for me every person we've honored so far has been a dream.
Looking down the road where, would you like to see the Diva Lounge go?
Shayna: I want people to hear the name "Diva Lounge" and think of it as a memorable experience and a worthwhile event. I want us to expand through other multimedia opportunities and keep experiencing different cultures in more cities.
Kim: Looking down the road, I want the Diva Lounge to be synonymous with exclusivity -- [what] you're not finding anywhere else, and I think we've done that, but we're going to make it bigger and better. I also hope that women will always leave feeling empowered.