On Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, TOFiTM International presented the inaugural HERs OWNly™ Pitch Contest in Atlanta, Georgia. This spectacular event was hosted by Tamla Oates-Forney, Founder of TOFiTM International. Keon Davis, Founder & CEO of Smooth-N-Groove Smoothies and Christopher Gray, Season 6 winner of the hit show Shark TankTM and co-founder & CEO of Scholly, served as emcees.
Held at The Riverside EpiCenter, the HERs OWNly Pitch ContestTM was photographed by Terrell Clark photography and beautifully transformed by Brian Keith Productions, Carrie J Events, B&W Woodcrafts, and the persona artwork of V. Kottavei.
The HERs OWNly™ Pitch Contest, inclusive of HERs OWNlyTM JR™ ages 6 to 18 years old and HERs OWNlyTM, ages 19 years old and up, provided women and girls of color business owners with the opportunity to present their breakthrough business concepts to some of the most powerful and influential business figures in the nation. Judges included:
Zandra Cunninham, HERs OWNlyTM Jr. Ambassador, and teen founder & CEO, Zandra Beauty
Dr. Key Hallmon, Founder of Village Market Atlanta
Ernest Marshall, Vice President, Human Resources – GE Aviation
Tameka Montgomery, Founder & Host of Raising Entrepreneurs Podcast
Brandon Andrews, Senior Consultant, Value Partnerships and diversity casting for Shark TankTM and FunderdomeTM
Swaady Martin, HERs OWNlyTM Ambassador, Founder & CEO, Yswara
Theia Washington Smith, Founding Director, Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, Atlanta.
Darryl Wilson, Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer – GE Power
Out of 25 contestants, the winners of this year’s contest were:
HERs OWNlyTM Jr.:
Grand Prize Winner | Gabrielle (Gabby) Goodwin, 11 yo founder & CEO of Gabby Bows, Columbia, South Carolina
HERs OWNlyTM Adults:
Grand Prize Winner| Jennifer Lyle, CEO of Lush Yummies Pies Co, Detroit, Michigan
Runner Up| Tara Darnley, co-founder & CEO of Darlyng & Co, Brooklyn, New York
Audience’s Choice | Diana Nichols and Melana Singletary, founders, Fuel Better Foods, Atlanta, GA
In addition to the pitch presentations guests enjoyed hands on workshops from teen CEO and HERs OWNlyTM Jr. ambassador, Zandra Cunningham, and her mother, Tamara Zantell, on how to both be and raise a mogul.
Insightful panel discussions were a big hit with esteemed guests including:
Taylor Richardson, aka Astronaut Starbright and STEM advocate
Jelani Jones, 10 yo founder & CEO, Lani Boo Bath
Yelista Jean-Charles, founder & CEO of Healthy Roots Dolls
Kendra James, founder &CEO of the Finance Femme
Africa Miranda, key influencer, founder & CEO of Beauty by Africa Miranda
Impact Award Honorees celebrated for making a positive impact in the community and in our world were Eunique Jones Gibson, founder of Because of them We Can and Maisha Wynn, founder of Live to Wynn.
Other event sponsors who helped make the HERs OWNly™ Pitch Contest a success with gift bag items, $1K+ financial and in-kind donations included The CreateHER Life (Antoinette Cheek), Miss Jessie’s, Moni B Cosmetics, Keeping Your Dreams Alive Entertainment (Tawana Lael Montgomery), The Pitch 101 (Squeaky Moore), Fabulina Designs (Charline Dennis-Shelby), GE Lighting (Bill Lacey), BodySync By Jamillah ( Jamillah Mapp), Smiles by Dr. Heavenly (Dr. Heavenly Kimes), Vision & Passion (Shelley Willingham), Alfreda Bradley-Coar, Sharon (Michael) Daley, Thomas (Tomika) Konditi, Stephanie Mains, Tara Plimpton and Jennifer van Bell.
The mission of TOFi™ International, as underscored by the HERs OWNly™ Pitch Contest, is to impact the future, one woman/girl (of color) at a time through fiscal investments, thought leadership and philanthropic endeavors. Each division of the company has been carefully developed to provide complimentary services and resources to cultivate the community of women and girls it seeks to serve. For more information about TOFi™ International, visit www.tofiinternational.com.