Pastries and Champagne: The Launch

“Behind every good woman is a good man…isn’t that how the saying goes?”


Laughter erupted through the crowd at Marcus Finley’s (paraphrased) opening quote and with that, Pastries and Champagne was officially launched. Delicious pastries and champagne from local and women-owned businesses were sorted throughout the room and securely in the hands of many of the women, paying homage to this new discussion series’ premise: sharing the untold stories of women and power and business in a relaxed, intimate setting.

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Rakia Finley of Surge Assembly is the visionary behind this event (now series). She noted that although we regularly celebrate entrepreneurial triumphs by women, we rarely talk about what it took to get there, in an open, courageous, and non judgmental way. Thus, Pastries and Champagne was born. Mrs. Finley invited four dynamic, powerful, and accomplished women, all from different walks of life, to share their stories of struggle and setbacks, as well as triumph.


Pastries and Champagne was hosted by the WeWork Wonder Bread Factory, a co-working space located in the Shaw neighborhood. It’s indoor setting made for an intimate conversation, evoking candor and lots of laughter. In the “what-do-you-do” who-do-you-know” hubbub of DC, as well as the “Lean In” vs. “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” mud-slinging, it was refreshing to laugh about a lack of work-life balance, without the lurking man bashing or blaming element. The positivity and energy of the women gathered was both electrifying and eye-opening. What can we do when we live without limits and share unabashedly our secrets and greatest fears?


The panelists also spoke of leadership and establishing themselves. The audience was reminded to dream big, go for no, lead with the four F’s (Faith, Fra-mily, Follow-Up, Flexibility), were encouraged to find their own “F.” We were informed about what it’s like to have to make choices regarding family and career, and how it feels to work beside your husband (significant other). The panelists insisted that we have everything we need to succeed and that we should continue to motivate and support one another, because we can’t be who we want to be without uplifting others. We were also reminded that crying is cleansing and that fear and difficulty is feedback.

Jamie Foster Brown, founder of Sister2Sister magazine, brought down the house with her closing remarks. In her signature way, she flipped through her notes and commented on the speakers’ remarks in an insightful and humorous, yet genuine, fashion. I was both in awe of and inspired by this 68-year old phenom. Although it was late, the crowd wasn’t restless and continued to listen and use social media to connect and share insights.


Pastries and Champagne has an important role in shaping the way we talk about women and business. The series highlights how and why we must have these conversations about leadership, gender, and building a true community. Moving forward, the Pastries and Champagne series will hold a monthly discussion panel so don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn and share!


About the Author

 Stephanie Ghoston – Midwestern roots, DC resident, inspired traveler. Stephanie is a lawyer and life coach, dedicated to extraordinary living…[read more].

–Connect: Website / Twitter  / LinkedIn


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