Black Women Entrepreneurs & Executives Gather to Empower the Next Generation at ‘In Her Bag’s’ NYC Summit


by Veracity Savant

March 26, 2024

New York City was abuzz with empowerment and inspiration as a group of remarkable women entrepreneurs and executives took center stage at “In Her Bag: The Summit NYC,” hosted at Shopify New York on March 16th and 17th. Organized by some creative agency, this two-day event aimed to empower and support Black women’s entrepreneurship, providing a platform for ambitious women to connect, learn, and grow.

Danielle Spencer is the brainchild behind “In Her Bag” and the founder of Balu Organics and some creative agency, a remote brand-building hub for startups, emerging businesses, entrepreneurs, and creatives built out of her own need for community. 

“[The agency] was born out of a period of intense self-reflection and change in my life…I was at a crossroads, unsure of the direction my professional and personal life should take. I knew one thing for sure: I needed to pursue a path that nourished my soul on a deeply personal level, beyond my roles as a mom, an employee, or any other identity I held,” Spencer told Because Of Them We Can (BOTWC).


That led her on a journey to create a safe space where women could find community, feel valued, and be their authentic selves. Spencer’s vision crystallized into a sanctuary where women could escape traditional networking pressures and instead foster genuine connections.

“Navigating social environments can be particularly challenging for me, as I get overstimulated quickly and can easily shut down in social situations. It became crucial to craft a space that didn’t just feel safe but like home—where being amongst friends was the norm. In this space, we’re not “networking” in the traditional sense; we’re hanging out and growing together, fostering genuine connections and support,” explained Spencer. 

The summit was founded in 2022, evolving from various pop-ups to a full-day event with hundreds of attendees. This year’s two-day summit featured a lineup of distinguished speakers, including Nikki Kria, Head of Communications at Kickstarter; Kendall Reynolds, Founder and CEO of Kendall Miles; Imani Nia, VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Brandon Blackwood; and LaToya Williams-Belfort, Executive Director of Fifteen Percent Pledge. These women gathered to share their insights, experiences, and expertise with attendees through workshops, panel discussions, and networking sessions that aimed to empower the next generation of leaders. 


The event kicked off with a strategic branding panel featuring Fenty Beauty’s Maliaka Manning, brand strategist Toni Payne, and commercial photographer Lindsey Drennan. Manning emphasized the importance of building community in your work, while Payne highlighted the role of intentional decision-making and following one’s gut instincts. Drennan, a former Vogue photographer, also spoke to attendees about the importance of brand identity in your work. 

“Invest the time and resources into your brand identity first. If you want to be a million-dollar brand, you have to look like a million-dollar brand,” said Drennan. 

The event continued with phenomenal panels encouraging attendees to embrace vulnerability in their work and the importance of using “people power” to elevate your brand and foster economic power among your community. 


Alison Ryu, Brand Partnerships Manager at TikTok, Imani Nia, and Milly Millhauser, Content Partnerships at Spotify, also led a discussion on Strategic Partnerships. They underscored the importance of founder stories, maintaining brand values, and negotiating for brand integrity. They also emphasized the role of consistency in success, whether in content creation or partnership development.

Reflecting on the summit’s success, which drew more than 700 attendees, Spencer expressed excitement about future expansion plans. While specific details are still evolving, she’s exploring all options, including bringing the summit to other cities. The overwhelming demand and positive feedback from attendees indicate significant potential for growth. Still, Spencer remains committed to preserving the intimate and empowering atmosphere of “In Her Bag” gatherings while exploring opportunities to reach broader audiences.

“Empowering women entrepreneurs is crucial because, too often, we lose ourselves amid external pressures and expectations. Many women are standing at life’s crossroads, unsure of their identity and direction. The key to navigating this uncertainty is finding your community. Energy and support from like-minded individuals can significantly impact our business-building journey,” said Spencer. 


“With women constituting a significant portion of entrepreneurs, often as a response to systemic barriers, it’s vital to foster spaces where we can celebrate our creative and growth-driven journeys together. Success rarely comes in solitude; it’s built on a foundation of strong, supportive relationships. Breaking away from the notion that we must navigate this path alone is essential. We must embrace the collective strength that comes from community,” she added. 

As the summit drew to a close, attendees were inspired, empowered, and equipped with valuable insights to navigate their entrepreneurial journeys. Spencer’s vision of creating a supportive community for women in business continues to resonate, reminding us that the celebration and support of women entrepreneurs should extend far beyond the confines of a single event or month. Spencer hopes that her efforts serve as just a tiny spark, reverberating through channels so that other brands can also amplify their support for women entrepreneurs. 

“Our entrepreneurs are so powerful and capable of so much. It’d be amazing to see what they can truly achieve with more support.”


Cover photo Black Women Entrepreneurs & Executives Gather to Empower the Next Generation at ‘In Her Bag’s’ NYC Summit/Photo Credit: some creative agency

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