By Nicole D. Miller

Female leaders of all ages, ethnicities, and interests have been gathering based on one common factor and one factor alone: They are women. But not just women; they are movers and shakers in their communities. These meetings, called “Girl Talk,” have been held virtually for over a year. Think “The Real” meets Cleveland.
The first in-person Girl Talk is going to be live this December. The discussion will be hosted by author and book publisher Nicole D. Miller, who will be joined by a handful of selected panelists who vary by topic. All subject matter for Girl Talk is intended to breed a safe space of vulnerability and transparency. When women find that their struggles are being shared by others in this community, they know they are not alone.
In previous virtual discussions, panelists were visually presented on Zoom, and attendees could chime in via the chat box. With the upcoming in-person Girl Talk, there will be a segment for panelists to dialogue and a separate time for attendees to engage in Q&A and comments.
The conversations are powerful, thought-provoking, and heartfelt. Female community leaders usually don’t have this type of outlet, yet it’s needed. Women are typically the backbone of the household, managing affairs, streamlining infrastructures, and delegating responsibilities at home and in the workplace. They’re the heartbeat of their families, jobs, and societies. Yet, when do they receive the chance to be poured into to offset all that they pour out? Girl Talk is that chance, so get ready to mark your calendars.
Dr. Shamarah Hutchins, CEO of The Serene Corporation, a mental health advocate, and one of Girl Talks’ former panelists for “Can Black Love Still Happen?” eagerly agrees. “As a community advocate for athletes and more, I’ve noticed women need a space to express the unfairness, their thoughts, and the ability to make changes,” Dr. Hutchins advises. “Girl Talk gives a platform to allow me as a community leader to hear women’s thoughts and take them to particular individuals who can make changes.”
The conversations, embodying a “me too” element, started in March 2022. It was then that several leaders in the Cleveland area and beyond, such as Audra Bradfield (Carroll), Lisa Nichols, Alysha Ellis, Esperanza Gallon, and Jamia Lewis, dove into the nuances of feminism in the discussion, “Are You a Feminist?
Jennah Lear, Owner and brand strategist of Blue Loui Studio, raves about the meaty dialogue. “I really loved the Girl Talk Topic, ‘Are You a Feminist?’ It’s something I’m personally passionate about and I appreciated hearing from other women on what they think this word means to them and, additionally, how society is using it to impact and affect women. It’s a charged topic, so I’m glad we just jumped in the pool on this one!” That’s precisely what Girl Talk is: a pool of hot topics awaiting intelligent, driven leaders to dive into.
Additional topics tackled in previous Girl Talks included healing from heartbreak, not losing one’s identity as a woman in relationships, developing purposeful friendships, and how the culture influences women’s self-perceptions of beauty. All topics offered a chance for both participants and attendees to foster new relationships.
The panelists have consistently been female leaders whose brands are in alignment with Girl Talk’s values. Pursuing healing, growth, and leveling up in self-value and self-esteem, are just a few of those common values. For this reason, Lisa Nichols, CEO and lead consultant of Love Your Niche, found the Girl Talk conversations to be the perfect fit. “I founded Love Your Niche because I wanted to give people tools to own their brilliance and create a life that aligns with their values. Girl Talk is one way that I can do both of those things.”
While the panelist platform has focused on 30- and 40-somethings, it’s all-inclusive and diverse. One of the youngest speakers, Secret James, an RN, life coach, and owner of N8KEDSecrets apparel, enthuses about the wisdom received from her older peers. “I’m usually the youngest guest host, and I love it. I love being around women who have been through what I’m currently going through, and they come out stronger and better. I also enjoy the fact that despite my age, my opinion and words are validated through their trials and experiences.”
The upcoming discussion, “Dealing with Grief at the Holidays,” will be held on Sunday, December 17, 2023, at Ink Therapy Studio in Bedford, Ohio. Light refreshments will be served, and wine will be available for purchase from the Black, female-owned winery, 2 You Wines. This event is sponsored by The Cleveland Observer and is sure to be a time of healing and encouragement via the vehicle of sisterhood. Panelists to be announced.
“…The more women can gather in diverse and safe settings where we can have open conversations that question the norms, including our thought processes and lived experiences, the more we continue to grow and connect deeper,” says Jennah. “I’m a believer in the magic that happens when women gather. So, whether you leave the discussion feeling full, heard, seen, or even triggered, there’s something to leave with that will help you grow.”