The Sister Summit Foundation (SSF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to the social, cultural and economic empowerment of women and girls of color through programs that promote education, entrepreneurship, the arts, and opportunities for personal and professional development.
SSF programs serve as a community resource to educate women and girls of color to become leaders, to improve their career options, to excel in school, and to strive for success. Programs include:
– Entrepreneur’s Boot Camp: a series of classes to help aspiring entrepreneurs start businesses and push experienced business women to grow.
– Career Academy: a program designed to assist women reach higher levels of leadership in their careers.
– Community Empowerment Academy: workshops that provide learning opportunities for the Lowcountry community.
– Soul Camp: a teen leadership program for girls ages 13 to 17.
SSF produces several women’s events annually including:
– Legacy Awards: an awards gala honoring trailblazing women of color and their contributions to the community.
– Sister Summit Expo: celebrates women of color for a girls day out offering seminars by local and national experts, vendors, crafts, health screenings, and entertainment.
– Naturally You: a wellness and beauty event that helps women learn about the importance of self care while they act as caretakers for their families. Health professionals teach stress reduction techniques, women’s health information, nutrition and weight loss tips, and much more.
– Sister Cinema: an event that creates dialogue concerning important women issues.
Sister Summit was founded in Charleston, SC by local entrepreneur Deona Smith. In 2011, Deona was a magazine publisher and she wanted a way to connect with her female readers. Many called asking for advice about their businesses or careers and some wanted mentors. She began a women’s group called Sister Circle and held monthly meetings as a way to exchange information, network and build sisterhood. During the meetings, the ladies were encouraged to bring business cards and share their entrepreneurial endeavors. It quickly became evident that the women needed a way to expose their products and services to a wider audience. So in 2012, Deona founded Sister Summit as a women’s expo.
“I wanted the women in my group to have an expo to display their businesses, but I also wanted to provide something educational. As a local business woman, I was invited to many conferences and events and discovered that I was often the only African-American woman in the room. I would think about the empowering information being shared and thought that more women who looked like me should be there to receive the messages. Sister Summit became my way of giving my Sisters the opportunity to experience experts in their industries and gain valuable knowledge,” said Smith.
After successful expos, Sister Summit evolved and added a nonprofit which became the Sister Summit Foundation (SSF) to empower women and girls. With programs in several South Carolina cities and headquartered in Charleston, SSF has extended it’s reach to help women and girls find their purpose and live their best lives. It was obvious that women needed more support than an annual expo could provide. Taking the next step to provide year-round services was a natural progression. To date, SSF has served nearly 4000 women and 500 girls.
Aries Bail Bonds
Owner and Chef, Carolima’s Catering and Events
Trident Technical College
Broker in Charge, Mashore Realty Group
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
Owner and Publicist, The Ardent Agency