Ani Mercedes: The Educator
“I can’t even express the domino effect, by saying this is what I believe and having it resonate with others. It’s almost like the spark in you connects with the spark in them and it keeps growing and it keeps going.”
Empowering women financially isn’t just one the goals of Dream, Girl – it’s also the primary focus for some of our hosts who bring the film to their community.
This message was top of mind for Ani Mercedes when she decided to elevate her company by organizing a Dream, Girl screening.
Ani’s company, You’re Already You, is dedicated to helping women gain financial independence. She hosts money management and budgeting workshops to help women learn the tools to set them up for financial success.
“I made it my calling, my mission, to bring the film to Miami,” Ani said. “I wanted it to be beautiful, I wanted it to be welcoming, I wanted it to be comfortable and unintimidating. So often these networking events are really fluffy and not helpful so I really wanted to tie back the practical with the inspirational.”
After launching her company last year, Ani decided to organize a Dream, Girl screening to grow her business and magnetize her audience.
“Dream, Girl was the first moment, to be completely frank, where I said I’m going to give this my all, and here’s my full vision of what I want my business to be and how I want to help others,” Ani said. “It really gave me the confidence afterwards to say “This is what I’m doing. This is what I want it to be.”
To promote her screening, Ani shared photos, personal messages and her dreams for her event on social media. She had access to a screen and folding chairs, but sprung for a movie theatre experience with the soft, comfortable seats to make the women who were coming to her screening feel not only comfortable and relaxed but seen and taken care of.
“I think that it’s particularly meaningful for early career women who have maybe never been in a management position, who never had their voices valued in that way. To show them that “Look, this is for you.”
Another reason Ani was drawn to host an event was because of the exclusivity of the film. The only way to see Dream, Girl is to either attend or host your own screening. The fact that the film isn’t on Netflix or available digitally was a big part of the appeal and she leveraged that aspect to partner with the Miami Girls Foundation and gain interest from the media.
And it paid off.
Over 100 people came to the screening and after the lights went up, Ani had her attendees partnered up and participated in a negotiation role play activity. She shared her own powerhouse story of when she was able to negotiate her salary from $30/hour to $100/hour in just two email exchanges!
Ani says that hosting her screening as a way of building out her business gave her the clarity and confidence to move forward with her company in a big way.
Since the screening, which was back in September 2016, Ani’s continues to get emails and messages from the women who tell her how impactful the event was. Even this many months later she still hears stories from women who utilized her practical advice to gain financial independence and become leaders in their own businesses and communities.
“I can’t even express the domino effect, the ripple effect that you can have by saying this is what I believe and having it resonate with others. It’s almost like the spark in you connects with the spark in them and it keeps growing and it keeps going.”
Check out the photos from Ani’s event in Miama, Florida below!
Photos by Miami Girls Foundation