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How a dream for a conference for Black women in DM continues on

Fifth in-person LadyLike summit to be held on April 15

LadyLike DSM co-founders Lindsey White and Deidre DeJear in 2022. Contributed photo.

As Lindsey White stepped to the podium to give opening remarks at the 2022 LadyLike Summit, she took a deep breath and looked into the crowd.

She saw the faces of 200 Black women, looking back at her.

White immediately felt a sense of awe and pride. A whole room filled with Black women, in Des Moines. All because of a vision she had five years before.

In 2016, White was looking to attend a women’s conference that focused on and featured Black women. She soon realized she would have to travel to Chicago, Atlanta or Houston to go to one.

“Instead of investing my own money in somebody else’s thoughts and plans and community, it was like, I’m sure that there’s others here that need this as well. Why don’t we just try to create something here?” she said.

In April 2017, LadyLike DSM was born with a mission to empower Black women in the Des Moines metro area by offering opportunities for connecting, learning and supporting one another.

Its signature event is a daylong conference in the spring that focuses on connecting Black women with each other, uplifting them and providing a safe space for them to be themselves.

“It’s a really good time to get together with other Black women within the state to learn and grow and sharpen each other, not just personally but professionally,” Shekinah Fountain, empowerment lead at LadyLike, said.

The LadyLike PowHER Summit on April 15 this year will feature breakout sessions, a keynote speaker, a panel discussion and networking opportunities, as well as time to shop for products by Black women-owned small businesses.

This year, LadyLike is hosting an additional event on April 14 from 5 to 7 p.m., the evening before the summit, that’s open to everybody in the community who wants to learn about allyship and network with Black women.

The Friday event will include a panel discussion featuring community leaders Helena Young, Nyra Bottley, Tiara Mays, Bridget Cravens-Neely and Teree Caldwell-Johnson, who will talk candidly about their experiences as Black women, as well as opportunities for shopping, White said.

Tickets for the LadyLike PowHER Summit start at $50. Tickets for the LadyLike Ally event are donation-based.

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