The Ladies League of Detroit aims to empower women in all aspects of their lives through personal and professional development and networking.

Ladies League of Detroti

Donald James, Michigan Chronicle

In the spirit of Women’s History Month, the Ladies League of Detroit (LLD) is making natural history by inspiring women to discover and embrace their powers, purposes, and gifts to live their best lives.

Founded in 2018 by Detroiter Latonia Walker, LLD has grown from 22 women to 87 members – and continues to expand.   LLD’s ten core values, according to Walker, the organization’s CEO, are focused on women’s empowerment, professional/personal development, sisterhood, spirituality, self-esteem/self-efficacy, accountability, networking, community service, entrepreneurship, and financial empowerment.

“The Ladies League of Detroit is a sisterhood, where we work collectively on our personal and professional development,” said Walker. “There is power when we do that together.”

Walker said one of the major reasons that she formed LLD was to counter a popular negative stereotype often aimed at women, which characterizes them as jealous of each other, acting catty, and not supporting the aspirations and goals of other females.

“I wanted to start the organization to show that women exist who are supportive of each other in multiple ways,” Walker said.  “LLD is a viable way of bringing women together in inspirational ways where they collectively uplift each other.”

In its quest to embrace, motivate, mentor, and inspire women across broad sectors, Walker said LLD holds two meetings each month – one in person and one virtually.  Attendees are encouraged to explore and learn about an array of topics and issues confronting women in areas including, but not limited, to credit and wealth building, mental health awareness, living overall healthy lifestyles, developing and maintaining healthy relationships, marriage, the single life and dating, exploring careers and entrepreneurial opportunities, book readings and discussions, and more.

While Walker said LLD’s current membership is overwhelmingly comprised of African American women, she is creating initiatives to bring other ethnicities into the fold, which will help the organization reach its membership goal of 250 women.

In addition to the local Ladies League of Detroit doing empowering work in the Motor City, two other chapters are making waves in other cities:  The Ladies League of Baltimore (established in July 2021) and The Ladies League of Jacksonville (established in 2022). Walker said a new chapter will be established in another major American city before the end of 2024.

The mission and goals of other national chapters follow the blueprint and model of success established by LLD’s founding chapter in Detroit.  Walker is CEO of all LLD chapters – present and future.

“My goal from the beginning was to expand the Ladies League of Detroit to other cities,” Walker told the Michigan Chronicle.  “We will continue to grow more chapters over time.  Having sisters in other cities will strengthen LLD’s networking power.  It’s also important to connect with multiple women who are positive, want to be empowered, and want to help empower other women on personal and professional levels.”

Walker said LLD is proud to have launched its Detroit Small Business Directory, comprised of the organization’s favorite Metro Detroit businesses categorized as either Black-owned and/or Women-Owned.  A special marking is also attached to listed businesses officially endorsed by LLD.

“We actually launched the business directory online a few months ago and have 100 small businesses in the directory,” said Walker.  “Our goal is to expand the directory to 250 or more Metro Detroit Small Businesses.  The directory is not just for our members to list their businesses, although some of the chapter’s women entrepreneurs are included.  The online directory is our way of giving back to serve and support small businesses in the community.”

For Walker, a native Detroiter, the beat goes on to expand the mission, goals, and reach of LLD.

“I am always thinking of creative ways to keep women connected and grow in our ten founding values,” said Walker, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baker College and a master’s degree in social work (MSW) from Wayne State University.  “I love how we support each other in the Ladies League of Detroit in many ways, personally, professionally, and spiritually.  LLD is a safe and judgement-free space for women to feel comfortable discussing their personal and professional experiences, challenges, dreams, and ambitions.”

“It’s an amazing organization where there will always be opportunities for women to grow,” said Laura Emerson, a founding member and entrepreneur.  “We do what we say, which is to empower women and develop them.   And not only will women have an opportunity to grow personally and professionally with other women, but they will also have opportunities to give back to the empowerment of the community.”

Since its inception in 2018, LLD has hosted numerous community service events for and with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Alternative for Girls, COTS, the Detroit Fire Department, and more.

In addition to her leadership role with LLD, Walker, according to LinkedIn, is the director of coaching and social work at the Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS), a Detroit-based organization created to alleviate homelessness and poverty by providing an array of services to people in need.   In 2023, the Michigan Chronicle bestowed Walker with its “Women of Excellence” honors, citing her work empowering women in Metro Detroit and aiding individuals who are homeless and destitute.

“It was a great honor to have been chosen by the Michigan Chronicle for my contributions to empowering people,” Walker said.  “I’m just a proud Detroiter, and happy about all the positive development going on throughout the city.  And I’m happy that The Ladies League of Detroit is contributing to the great things happening in this city.”

#WomenEmpowerment #Detroit #PersonalDevelopment

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