Creating Magic In The Room: Marty McDonald’s Visionary Approach To Curating Empowering Women’s Events


Genuine innovation is exceptionally rare. We often refer to companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Netflix as disruptors, but none of these concepts are entirely new. Instead, they brilliantly leverage technology to modernize existing industries—and such is the nature of commerce. Most products amount to minor tweaks or improvements on existing ideas. 

No one is inventing the wheel. The best a founder can do is distinguish their offerings from competitors—that or stay the course long enough to become culturally ingrained. Brand recognition is the holy grail for businesses. Once a product reaches ‘household name’ status, it has to work hard to lose loyal customers. But, that milestone is far beyond scope for new entrepreneurs entering a saturated market. Still, success is plausible despite competition; new products go to market every day. The key to success lies in offering a brand or service that adds unique value in a fierce marketplace. It’s a concept flawlessly executed by Marty McDonald

The Founder and CEO of the production company Boss Women Media has perfected the art of brand differentiation. Whether hosting the annual Black Magic Reimagined business summit, collaborating with Sugarfina on a five-city pop-up tour, or orchestrating innovative business showers for women “birthing new businesses,” her mission remains unwavering: empowering and inspiring Black and Brown women entrepreneurs — it’s how she fulfills that mission that sets her apart. 

Under the veneer of curating events, what McDonald really sells is vibes. ESSENCE spoke with the Dallas-based entrepreneur about her secret to creating magic in every room.

People are still discussing your Founders’ Breakfast Masterclass with Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator. How was the experience for you, as the host?

It’s funny, Ebony. I’ve been doing this for a long time, this makes our sixth year in the game, but that event that I did two weeks ago was by far the best event I’ve ever produced. And it’s not because of how many people were in the room—we’ve done much larger events—it’s not because of all the influencers who were there; it had nothing to do with anything surface-level. It’s because I surrendered. And that is rare for me. I go into events so hard on myself, to make sure everything flows smoothly, but that was the first time I ever really experienced an event. 

What was it about the event that allowed that level of comfort?

For one, it was the first time we had a faith-based component. I am a Christian, and I believe in God, but normally, our partners don’t allow us to integrate that faith aspect.  But that speaks to the beauty of the partnership. I do believe that faith was the grounding force in the room.

It was palpable. At one point, when Sarah Jakes Roberts finished her opening address — there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. 

Yes, we were all in tears! When Sarah talked about surrender, it hit me hard because that’s the space I’m in right now. It was confirmation, and I know that message impacted so many people in different ways. 

But, we are also very intentional about setting the atmosphere way in advance. Before every event, we pray. And I mean, strategically. We have a chaplain on our team, and whether there are 100 people or 2000, she goes through every name on the attendee list, calls each one out loud, and prays for every woman. 

That is so powerful. Marty, you’re such a dynamic business woman, I was surprised you weren’t more central in the programming. You yielded the platform so generously to your guests. Was that deliberate?

Yes, that is something I always intentionally do. I live by the philosophy that you can’t do any of this by yourself. But if you want to do it in a way that is impactful and brings fruit to our community, you have to have a tribe; you need people to do this with. To your point, Ebony, I’ve experienced a lot of events and a lot of egos, and the biggest driver of why black women sometimes do not engage with the empowerment stuff is because of ‘Mean Girls.’ I don’t live by that code. 

When I rise, I feel it’s my responsibility to lift. So, we share resources without gatekeeping and show up in ways that don’t flaunt what we’re doing. If I can share something I’ve learned to make your pathway easier, why wouldn’t I? 

There is just no room for ego, especially in today’s climate, when DEI is under attack, and laws are being threatened that could literally put us centuries behind. We have to know that there is enough for all of us to be at the table.

How do you generate that kind of cohesiveness with everyone involved?

I will share this with you, and it’s really the art behind the science. On the day of the event, I pull all the women in a room, and we bring professionals to do their hair and makeup. We do that because I’ve actually been in spaces where that hasn’t happened; some ladies come in dolled and done up, and then you’ll see that one lady who gets dimmed down. So we intentionally make sure everyone on that panel can come in, get their hair touched up, and have their face beat to the gods. And they don’t pay for it; it’s part of the experience. 

But also, there is an energy that’s exchanged as we sit next together in the room. As we’re talking and laughing and sharing stories, connection happens, and that translates at the event.

Indeed it does. Thank you for sharing. When you say no gatekeeping, you mean it. [laughs] I don’t know if it’s the Delta in me, but I’m a girls-girl. I want to see us all win. 





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