Our first Virtual Date Night even took place on the 27th of May 2020. It was another first for us as a team and we’re happy to say we pulled off an awesome event.
Date Night was hosted by Christine Taphel of Hit@Thirty1. We had amazing speakers inspiring the ladies, Candy Willemse and Kristiina Lähde.
Our Junk.fund beneficiaries for the evening are as follows:
Yonela Khohloko – Inguquko – Equal and empower youth at the age of 12 years upwards. (@inguquko_female)
Tayane Lee Williams – Hair Talks By Tay – Empowering communities to embrace their natural hair in all shapes and forms. We do this by hosting intimate hair events, 1 on 1 hair consultation as well as 1 on 1 motivation sessions and sell hair accessories to care and style natural hair (@HairTalksByTay)
Musa Jakuja – Cooking Heals – Events and catering (@cookingheals01)
Adine Pietersen – Godsmacked – Christian Apparel & Art, Turning God’s words into art. Artistic, poetic and encouraging words placed on clothing, etc. (@godsmacked_)
The following is a recap of the event by Rene Parker.
Good afternoon to the RLabs Women Team and to all those that attended our Virtual Date Night last night. We have spent many weeks and late nights in preparation to host our first ever Virtual Date Night. We had many surprises planned for the women with great entertainment lined up and the announcement of our Junk.Fund May 2020 Winners.
The theme we chose was #TakeUpSpace #YourDigitalSpace and our esteemed Guest Speaker and Panelists were specifically invited to share with us how they are taking up space. As RLabs Women, our mission is to “Unleash the greatness in women and girls to fearlessly dominate the entrepreneurship and technology domains”. One of how we do this is by hosting a networking event every quarter called: Startup Women Date Night. We bring together women of all ages who are entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs and women who are on the ground being Change Makers. These events allow the women to make new connections and form new friendships while being: inspired, empowered, reminded to continue dreaming, aspiring for greatness in all they do by continuing to change their realities and to fearlessly dominate the technology and entrepreneurship domains.
Last night the women showed tenacity, bravery and were true examples of shaking off the dust and rising up. Our Zoom call was hacked half through our first Virtual Date Night with explicit images and language popping up on everyone’s screen. After the shock wore off and we realized that it was a hack and not just one of our participants’ mic that was accidentally unmuted and sharing their screen, the RLabs Women and Media team tried to block and mute the hackers.
Unfortunately by this time, we were exposed to the explicit images and we decided to shut the call down. We immediately thought “do we just end Date Night”? Of course, the RLabs Women and Media teams are made of tougher stuff than this. Many of us have faced far greater enemies than hackers and we were not going to let all that was prepared for the women go to waste. We started another call on Google Meet and tried to share the new link as swiftly as possible to get as many women back online with us. We do apologize to those women who we might have missed and to those who were watching on Facebook Live since we had to terminate the Livestream. We started our Date Night #2 and had about 70% of the participants re-join us. We kicked it off with some music and got straight into an inspiring panel discussion by Kristiina from Finland and Candy from DRC. These women moved us at our core and when we share ourselves with each other it makes someone else’s struggles lighter. As entrepreneurs, we need to be reminded to not give up and not to be afraid to reinvent ourselves when we need to. We ended the night with our pitching competition and had 4 amazing Junk.fund May 2020 winners who received cash Cheques on the night.
Through this experience, it reminded me that women are not safe! It’s not safe for us to be outside, it is not safe in our homes, at our places of work, at our places of study, school, when we are online and even when we want to encourage and empower each other. Women all around the world face these challenges daily and many movements and groups are fighting this abuse and wanting it to be safer for women not just to have a chance to live, breath, create, explore and exist but to rise up, shake off the dust and be a contagious woman! We refuse to be trampled on by anyone.
The comments and encouragement from the women were streaming in and were extremely overwhelming for us. We thank you for showing us that as women, we are stronger together and that we will not stop talking, sharing, existing and taking up our place.
To quote a line from our previous Date Night #BOSSUp theme song:
“You can only BossUp if you shake it off, Rise Up Rise Up! Where my ladies at? .”
Who knew that we would be doing exactly that on our first Virtual Date Night.
Sending you all lots of love ❤️ Rene Parker