The Ladies League of Detroit.
Photo by G7 Productions
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
Those wise words were spoken by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, words that still resonate today for women — especially Black women – who need a space for support and sisterhood.
Enter a professional sister circle for the “woman in the middle.” That woman is a hard working businesswoman who is not new to the game – she’s carved a name out for herself and she’s reaching toward even higher heights professionally and entrepreneurially. She’s striving to be on the C-Suite-boss level status.
That’s who the Ladies League of Detroit (LLD) caters to and is a supportive network for all women in Metro Detroit. LLD, founded in May 2018, helps women of all colors with their professional and personal development. About 50 women are in the group.
With founding principles centered on women’s empowerment, networking, entrepreneurship, accountability, financial development, spirituality and friendship, it’s easy to see why LLD is growing in popularity.
Founder and CEO LaTonia Walker, a Detroit native, social worker, motivational speaker and writer, spoke to the Michigan Chronicle about why she started the organization.
Walker said that her first meeting was held in October 2017 and the organization became official in May 2018.
The non-profit-turned small business launched to help women – but not just any woman.
“[It] started from this idea, from what I call women in the middle — not at the bottom, not at the top,” Walker said, adding that these types of women don’t always receive the support and attention they deserve and it was time to organize to support one another. “Now [it’s] going places I didn’t even imagine — now getting bigger and bigger.”
Walker, director of Coaching & Engagement at COTS homeless shelter in Detroit, has faced numerous personal challenges throughout life and uses her platform to motivate and inspire women not only in Detroit but now all over the country, according to her bio. In addition to LLD (starting in the founding city), there is The Ladies League of Baltimore, which began in 2021. More chapters are in the works, including a potential one in Florida. The new chapters happen organically through networking and more, Walker says.
Member Ethel Rucker, a local professional who is on the membership committee for LLD, said that to her a middle woman does not necessarily have the plethora of resources a wealthier woman has – she also does not need an overflow of financial support for herself like those who might be poverty-stricken.
“The woman in the middle, to me, is working to get where we have the network,” she said, adding that the organization she’s been a part of since day one doesn’t just open the door for themselves to walk in. “[We] leave it open for other women to get to as well.”
TaKisha Jones, a local contract manager who oversees homeless shelters in the region, is on LLD’s leadership committee which supports the oversight of the financial component of the group. She and others on the committee help create bylaws and rules while providing checks and balances.
“We’re really, essentially, the example for the group, how the group should govern,” she said, adding that as a newer member she appreciates the sisterhood she’s found professionally amongst like-minded women who at times can feel forgotten — especially women of color.
“I love how the group helps us to remember who we are,” she said of the group made up of “all walks of life.”
“Sometimes we forget to be us who we are; that concept helps us to remember who we are and we are not our situations,” she said, adding that their paths are vital and “worthy” of what the future holds.
“We are excited about this group; we love this group and where it’s going and growing,” she said.
Meetings are held both virtually and in-person on Wednesdays and Saturdays; the group also has regular community service activities. Membership dues are $40 per month.
For more information go to https://www.theladiesleagueofdetroit.com/.
Contact Staff Writer Sherri Kolade with story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.