Women in Business

Take the Lead founder Tanida Mullen talks about ideas and inspirations at the Take the Lead women’s brunch on Jan. 5 in the Killeen Civic & Conference Center.

If you missed the Take the Lead brunch in Killeen this year, it’s not too late to find opportunities to get to know strong women in the community.

“We really just want people to take the lead. If I really could say anything to people, I would say, whatever it is you want to start, do it,” said event MC and Take the Lead founder Tanida Mullen. She encourages those in the community to look for and share networking and empowering events like Take the Lead with others for the positive outcomes it can produce for women everywhere.

Take the Lead is traditionally held the first week of January to encourage attendees to get excited about the new year and to start goal planning.

Event details for next year’s Take the Lead brunch have yet to be finalized but, Take the Lead events occur periodically throughout the year and aren’t always networking-specific; last year there was a summer series that focused on mental health.

The fourth annual Take the Lead women’s brunch took place Jan. 5 in the Killeen Civic & Conference Center, with the goal of empowering local women. The event provided local women with professional and entrepreneurship interests the opportunity to connect with others for education, collaboration, friendship and a meal. The event including guest speakers; women entrepreneur vendors selling jewelry, real estate services, health products, books and educational material; gift giveaways; and goal-setting activities.

“I created the event to get women together because we typically have leaders in our community that we don’t even know. I just really do it for the community,” said Mullen.

About 40 women attended this year’s Take the Lead. Women in attendance were from diverse places professionally and personally; event-goers included business owners, retirees, those looking for a career change or to network, and some seeking to be an entrepreneur. Some attendees came from other cities like Houston and Waco.

“Meeting other women that are wanting to see how they can make a difference,” said Killeen resident Misty Baumgrotz, when asked what the benefit of attending a networking event like Take the Lead is.

“You never know who you’re going to meet and what difference they’re going to make for you. It can be just one little phrase that one of them might say, and it’s going to be something that completely changes the way you think,” Baumgrotz said about the event.

Baumgrotz has attended the last two Take the Lead brunches, and plans to go to the next one in 2020. She has aspirations of blossoming as a motivational speaker, and revealed some of those plans — including a line-up of more speaking events and a website — at last weekend’s event

Another Take the Lead attendee this year has goals of becoming a personal trainer.

“I want to help other people the way I’ve been helped. And I want to just really inspire other women because self-image is a big deal. It’s about health, too,” said Neita Bright, a teacher who came from Waco to attend. This year she plans to make the big step of getting her personal trainer certification.

Two-time book author, Networking with Michelle podcast host and business networking expert Michelle Ngome was this year’s keynote speaker.

Ngome’s motivational and educational speech focused on having the courage to step into personal leadership and the value of sharing one’s story. She also shared details about her personal struggles professionally.

“I’m excited to be here. I just want everyone to be encouraged. I want people to be mindful of the 3 c’s—commitment, core values, and collaboration. And I think once we can make a commitment to ourselves, understand what our core values are, we’re able to collaborate with like minded women in order for us to progress,” Ngome said.

Ngome also commended Take the Lead for being a safe space for women to express ideas and connect with others that can help women achieve goals well after the event.

Learn more about ongoing Take the Lead events by visiting the organization’s official Facebook by searching for @TakeTheLeadBrunch.

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