Happy Friday Friends!
Isn’t it just so lovely and COOL outside today?! I am absolutely in love with this weather right now. At any rate, I’ve been very lucky to have built a strong relationship with today’s “Millennials on a Mission” in the last few months. They are driven young professionals that are not only enthusiastic about both public relations and education, but amazing inspirations to me. While they’ve only known each other for less than a year, their bond both personally and professionally is completely admirable and one of the strongest that I’ve been blessed to witness. Their unique backgrounds, expertise and desire to bring love back in a unique way offer a level of class and sophistication to the field of PR and event planning that will only continue to propel them forward.
I’d like to introduce you all to the ladies of L’Afropolitian PR & Special Events.
Simona Noce and Portia Wills met through their mutual connection during Portia’s job hunt last September. “It was love at first G-chat,” Portia recalls. “We instantly hit it off and have been practically inseparable ever since. ” The daughter of a military couple, Portia was born in Virginia and has had the chance to live in New York and Germany, but spent most of her time growing up in Mitchellville, Maryland. A graduate of Boston College (B.A.) and University of Pennsylvania (MSW) respectively, Portia gained the entrepreneurial bug when she was 13, but has always understood the importance of giving back in order to make a greater impact on her community.
Born in the Ivory Coast , Simona grew up in Ghana, West Africa most of her life. She frequently traveled and attended school in Europe before moving to the United States when she was 11 years old. “Throughout my travels, experiences, and relationships I grew to appreciate the power of voice in raising awareness towards pretty much anything,” she says. A graduate of Howard University where she studied communications, Simona credits her experiences at HU for her fascination with social issues across the globe and how the power of social advocacy depends on the bright minds of young people. ”Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore Howard,” she says. “It was at Howard University that I blossomed, gained a strong sense of self, and developed my skill set.” Currently, both Simona and Portia work at 2U, Inc. — a dynamic higher education start-up in Landover, Maryland.
On what inspired the inception of L’Afropolitian, and what they have in store for the future:
There were two reasons I (Simona) was inspired to create L’Afropolitan PR and Special events in 2011. First, after working on several public relations campaigns and projects in West Africa, Los Angeles, Miami and DC , I decided it was time to build my business. Secondly, I realized there was power of generating awareness for young professionals as a young professional. I would attend several networking events and watch young professionals come and really not network! Everything must be purposeful — so I began hosting monthly themed networking events that highlighted young entrepreneurs who were affiliated with the theme of the month. This provided them the opportunity to showcase their products, organizations and ideas. Also, all donations profited a different non-profit organization each month. When Portia and I met, I was intrigued by her passion and expertise in the world of PR and non-profit, her skill set, personality — and her drive is unmatched. Our focus and goals are the same, so we teamed up and L’Afropolitan is growing! Some of our past events have been Afrofusion, the HBCU Tweet-UP, Bloggers Affair and Under30CEO . Recently, we launched our new endeavor, Bringing Love Back to the City – a movement which focuses on building healthy relationships among professionals in metropolitan areas. Our first event is on Sunday, July 28th!
Both Portia and Simona believe that it is their partnership that allows them to have a such unique perspective on everything that they do. “We both bring our own set of skills that allow us to focus on the smallest details while not missing the big picture,” Simona says. “We also really feed off of the energy of our clients.” And while it can be sometimes a little hectic with balancing full-time jobs, attending events in The District and other obligations, they both make time for what needs to get done and find something to joke about along the way. In the future, the ladies of L’Afropolitan have plans to expand their agency and work with clients in different cities. “We understand how much time, dedication and effort it takes to start and maintain a great agency,” Portia says, “and we look forward to doing that for a long time.”
Both Simona and Portia offer great definitions of what they believe it means to be a “Millennial on a Mission”, but want to ultimately encourage their fellow millennials to never lose sight of their goals and what truly makes them happy. “We make sure that no matter how tough things may seem at the time, we must focus on enjoying the moment,” Portia affirms. “It’s the tough times that allow us to grow the most and focus on ways to better ourselves and what we are doing.” Simona believes that a ’Millennial on a Mission’ should not be driven by popularity, but rather by purpose. “Fall in love with your strengths and accomplishments as your climb up your ladder — it’s that love that will keep you going and excited!”