Samantha Williams and Latisha Douglas are running a powerhouse collective, The Collaboration of Minority Women Professionals, and trying to make the entrepreneurial dreams of women of color come true.
Founded in 2018, CMWP helps empower women in business and those hoping to start through a sisterhood of information and tools for each member to create their own success.
“As an entrepreneur, I would go to a lot of networking events and there was just not lot of us represented in those spaces. And so instead of asking for a seat at the table, I built my own,” said co-founder Samantha Williams.
The group, which has grown to more than 100 women in Connecticut, holds weekly accountability calls – Manifestation Mondays – for each of the entrepreneurs to say their dreams out loud and keep them going.
“We give an update on our goal from last week. We set our goal for the current week. They find security in that space. They know they can trust the opinions and experiences were going to share they can use that to improve or grow their businesses,” Williams said.
“We can literally watch our entrepreneurs grow in their business and develop. We’ve watched people leave corporate and we’ve assisted them in becoming full-time entrepreneurs,” said co-founder Latisha Douglas.
Represented within the group are professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs in fields from accounting to clothing, underwriting, and marketing.
Many of the members are working moms and realizing the unique challenges of the working mother, CMWP came up with a tool to make sure childcare isn’t a hurdle — Kiddie Co-working.
“It enables mothers to come into a space where they can work, where they can learn about their business, but also have licensed childcare providers on site to watch their kids,” Douglas said.
Athena Murphy is the founder of her own vegan, cruelty-free lipstick brand, Lip Lock LLC. She’s also one of the collaboration’s newest members.
The West Haven mom started her company in 2019, but says in just a few months, the collaboration has been a major help and she’s confident she’ll grow her brand into something major over time.
“It’s been great to know that we have a safe space to share our struggles and share our experiences. Whenever I have a moment of un-clarity, I know who to reach out to. I know if they don’t have the answer, there’s somebody among our group who has the answer,” Murphy said.
The collaborative recently secured a grant to do entrepreneurial training in Hartford and on Friday, they’re hosting a golf tournament lunch for any interested women to come out and learn about their organization.