There is no definite way to be a strong woman. A strong woman can be one of any background, creed, and profession; a woman who is unapologetically herself every day. So, Thursday night, women from all over Northwest Indiana came together for Ideas In Motion Media’s “All About The Girls Part 3” to celebrate strength and show support for the women who work hard and help make other’s lives better all around the Region.
The third annual event was held at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton and welcomed hundreds of people to listen to a group of strong women tell their story. Guests were served refreshments and delicious hors d’oeuvres, entered their names for giveaway prizes to Horseshoe Casino and Anytime Fitness, and chatted among old and new friends.
The night truly didn’t start, however, until the woman in charge of the annual event and for bringing so many amazing women together - Jenny Craig-Brown, Executive Team Leader for Ideas In Motion Media - took to the stage to welcome everybody and thank them for making their way out to the beautiful country club to support strong women everywhere.
“This event is probably my favorite time of the year,“ Craig-Brown explained. “For me, it’s all about how much empowerment I can bring to women. Who can I bring to the table to make all of the people in this room ecstatic, empowered, courageous and all of those great things?”
Craig-Brown had the idea for All About The Girls three years ago and has since built this event into not only a place where strong women can be celebrated, but a place where women all over can learn, grow and become the best versions of themselves, whatever that version may be.
“A strong woman is someone that is herself no matter what,” she explained. “Tonight, I had some people ask, ‘What should I wear? What should I say? I said to all of them, ‘Whatever makes you happy.’ And, that’s what I want courageous women to be all over the place. I want them to be happy, and that can be a lot of different things for a lot of different people. That’s the key. Everybody is a puzzle piece, and if you’re not your puzzle piece, it’s going to cause a problem. Be your puzzle piece.”
Sand Creek Country Club has hosted the event for the past two years and loves welcoming strong and empowering women looking to make a difference.
“We really love this event,” said Angela Wronko, Catering Sales Manager for Sand Creek. “It has been a great opportunity to host All About The Girls for the past two years.”
The theme of All About The Girls Part 3 was “You’re Welcome World,” and before Craig-Brown introduced the first speaker, a video made by the Lady Lifers of the Life Team played for the guests and highlighted the importance of women being themselves unapologetically.
“I’m excited to see what all of this encompasses and seeing women supporting other women and empowering one another,” said Melissa Huffman, Director of Sales and Marketing for Residences of Deer Creek and one of the speakers Thursday night. “I think every women is strong in their own way. I think everybody interprets strength differently. You don’t have to go through the hardest things in life to be strong; we all have to be strong every day in all different facets. So, I love seeing other women enhance upon that and doing what makes them strong.”
The same admiration for the event was shared with every guest and, of course, the seven women who made their way to the stage to share their stories.
“Tonight is an opportunity to get together with a lot of strong and successful women and figure out what we have to give young women and girls so they can reach their potential,” said Marissa McDermott, Circuit Court Judge for Lake County and All About The Girls Speaker. “A strong woman is one who sees herself as an equal to anyone else. I was the first woman to be elected as a Circuit Court Judge in Lake County’s history, and while I didn’t set out to make history, I was happy to embrace that role and serve as a role model to young women.”
That sentiment was shared by the other women who made their way to Chesterton Thursday night to tell their stories and encourage women to be true to themselves.
“Tonight is a chance to promote everything that I represent and believe,” said Jennifer Sanders, Manager of the Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospital. “I’m able to come here tonight and share my knowledge and my experience to women everywhere.”
“I think what’s so amazing about this event is being able to lift each other up as women,” said Stacey Kellogg, Regional Manager of Community Relations for Porter Regional Hospital and La Porte Hospital. “And to recognize how our shortcomings can be to our advantage and that now more than ever, we have a voice that my have never thought we had. So, this event is here to inspire each other to listen to that inner voice, find out what our own personal missions are, and really begin to live our lives according to our own mission.”
“Maybe, just maybe, I have something that can help someone who needs it by being business for over 20 years,” said Donna Flanigan, Owner of Flanigan’s Bulk Mail Service and Founder of Scatter Kindness.
“I think this event validates all of the hard work I do every day and shows me that it has a purpose,” said Cathy Brown-Brown of Valpo Velvet Ice Cream. “It is so nice to see like-minded women do the same thing. A strong woman is one who thinks for herself, can solve her own problems, and tries to rely on herself. A strong woman is one who can be herself and not care what others think of her.”
“Being a part of this event means the world to me,” said Candace Arvin, Director of Marketing and Business Development for Jacob’s Ladder Pediatric Rehab Center. “Many of the women here tonight and from past years have really been an inspiration to me, so being able to make my way to the podium shows me that the work and the effort that I’m putting in each and every day actually means something to the community. That means the world to me because they were all there when I needed them, so I feel the need to give back and help others in similar situations.”
As the night came to an end, everyone in the room could not help but feel empowered, validated, and maybe for the first time, true to themselves. Amazing things can happen when women support one another and use their voice to encourage rather than discourage, and empower rather than tear down. And just like every woman who gave a passionate and moving speech, that is the mission of the annual All About The Girls.
Thank you to Sand Creek Country Club for hosting the event, and thank you to the event's sponsors, including Albert's Diamond Jewelers, Lakeside Wealth Management, Porter Health Care System, NIPSCO, General Insurance Services, Community Healthcare System's St. Mary Medical Center, Team Chevrolet of Valparaiso, and 219 Productions!