Sometimes the smallest, most ordinary action can lead to the very burst of inspiration needed to create something extraordinary.
That is what happened to University alumna Raina Vallot, when she published a Snapchat story of her pink heels with the caption, “Power Pump Girls” while at Izzo’s Illegal Burrito. Little did she know a simple photo would lead to the creation of an organization that would change her life.
Fellow alumna and Vallot’s business partner, Sherin Dawud, saw the story and was inspired by the power Vallot exuded in it. The pumps symbolized her confidence in herself and her abilities and a readiness to take on the world, Vallot said.
Vallot and Dawud wanted to share this sense of confidence with other women. The duo saw a need for a space in Baton Rouge where women could come together to network and share their professional talents with one another in order to help their dreams come true, they said.
In March 2017, the two embarked on their second endeavor: the creation of a women’s empowerment organization aptly named Power Pump Girls. The two women also co-own and run local event planning agency Faith’s 5th. They would use their event planning skills, business experience and familiarity with the Baton Rouge community to create avenues for women to connect, they said.
They also saw the organization as a way to contribute to the city’s growing creative community by linking local entrepreneurs.
Power Pump Girls hosted their first event, a Boho Brunch, Aug. 21 at The Parlor complete with a breakfast food buffet, mimosas, live entertainment and guest speakers. Jewelry maker Rebekah Burch and lifestyle photographer TahJah Krauss spoke about growing a small business. Mostly, however, the event was designed for attendees to meet fellow female entrepreneurs and leaders.
The panel at the brunch’s end included Vallot, Dawud, Burch and Krauss. A recurring theme of the event was fluidity within one’s career.
“You have so much more drive when you’re doing what you want to do,” Dawud said.
Both Vallot and Dawud agreed the brunch was their favorite experience of the Power Pump Girls so far.
Next up, the Power Pump Girls are embarking on a national speaking tour starting Aug. 23, with talks in locations such as Nashville, Tennessee, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. They are also planning a large-scale conference in New Orleans in 2018 with guest speakers, a marketplace for local vendors and workshops on topics such as how to do your taxes and practicing self care.
“When we’re finished, I’m probably going to go cry in my car and have a moment,” Vallot said. “Even if only one person in this room was inspired, I’m happy about that.”