Event Features

Top-quality vendors showcasing their quintessential goods!

1. A panel that touches on topics such as –

  • Genetics vs. Retention
  • Hair Typing (3a – 4c)
  • Trial and error experiences
  • Best advice as an influencer
  • Media adverse attention on natural hair
  • Additional topics…



Tonya Rapley, Moderator

Tonya Rapley is a Certified Financial Education Instructor and nationally recognized millennial money expert. In 2014 she was deemed the “New Face of Wealth Building” by Black Enterprise magazine. She is the creator of My Fab Finance, a personal finance lifestyle site that encourages readers to create lasting behavioral change. She created the #BanishTheBalance, a debt elimination challenge that helped more than 4,000 participants pay off over $200,000 worth of debt in 60 days. She is also the creator of Financially Preparing To Be Your Own Boss, a course that prepares aspiring entrepreneurs for the financial responsibilities of operating a business.

Because of her vast financial knowledge and relatable approach, Tonya is a highly sought after speaker for organizations, colleges and universities. She most recently spoke at Essence Festival 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her Money Lessons I Wish I Would Have Learned Before Graduation workshop has received rave reviews from both students and administrators. It is her life’s mission to empower the leaders of today and tomorrow to live financially responsible lives.

Tonya’s holds a Bachelors in Public Administration from Florida International University and a Master’s in Urban Affairs from Brooklyn College. Tonya’s expertise has also been recognized by popular media outlets such as, the NY Daily News, Yahoo! Finance, and Marketwatch. As a writer, Tonya has also contributed to, Buzzfeed, and, making a powerful influence on the financial lives of millions.


Monique Rodriguez, Panelist
Founder and CEO of Mielle Organics

Mielle Organics seeks to empower, excite and educate women about healthy hair and skin. By providing natural products that support, nourish and strengthen hair and skin, they trust that their customers are more confident, passionate and informed about the beauty products they use. Mielle Organics wholeheartedly believes that what is consumed by the body is displayed in the outward appearance. They choose to promote natural, organic ingredients, and are proud to exclusively use natural products derived from routed plant oils and natural herbs.

After only a few months of their launch in 2014 Mielle Organics was recognized for its results-driven products and excellent customer service. Today they are a global and viral sensation, with orders in over 87 countries around the world. Mielle Organics continues to be a market innovator in the haircare world and is excited to continue to meet the demands of healthy, natural hair for women and families worldwide.

Founder and CEO, Monique Rodriguez, has over nine years of experience as a registered nurse. Her science background and focus on health from the inside out inspired her to share her regimen of healthy, tailbone-length hair with the masses. She is passionate about inspiring women in business and entrepreneurship. Monique resides in Indiana with her husband and COO of Mielle Organics and their two beautiful daughters.


Michelle Breyer, Panelist

As co-founder of, a website for curly hair she began with her business partner and friend, Gretchen Heber, Michelle Breyer helped create the leading community and resource for people with curly hair. Frustrated by the lack of information on curly hair and the limited products available in the marketplace, the duo launched the site in 1998 with the help of a 14-year-old web designer. When Procter & Gamble called three years later to advertise to the® audience, Breyer knew they had indeed created a force in the industry, providing helpful information and unparalleled expertise for what was then considered a niche market.


Jenell B. Stewart, Panelist
Founder of

Jenell B Stewart, the founder and editor in chief of the award winning website dedicates her career to educating and uplifting women with natural hair by way of her extremely popular website and YouTube channel. Jenell has been featured in Essence Magazine, Black, and starred on the Dr.Oz television show as a Beauty Expert. In 2014, Jenell won the Root Top 100 People’s Choice Award, In 2012 she was named one of Essence’s top Instagramers and that same year KinkyCurlyCoilyMe won an award for “Favorite Website” of the Natural Hair Community.


Melissa Chanel, Panelist
Cantu Beauty brand ambassador & natural hair and lifestyle influencer

As a Cantu Beauty ambassador for little over a year, Melissa Chanel has enjoyed helping women understand their hair and love the skin their in. She has been able to connect with so many women and let them know what they are doing right or wrong, give them hair care options, educate them on new Cantu products that are released throughout the year, as well as share her journey.

Melissa is from North Carolina and in 2016 move back to her home town after a year long stint of living in Harlem, New York. She attended Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina and majored in mass communications with a public relations track. As a naturalista and a fashionista Melissa is not scared to try fun new looks and just recently big chopped for the 100th time, LOL. Her key to becoming a successful blogger is that she continues to network. She attends events, talks to people, exchanges contacts, hands out business cards.