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Women Equity Brunch

Casey Harrison
CEO Polished Strategic Communications
Indiana

In the heart of Central Indiana, a revolution is quietly unfolding driven by the visionary minds of Amanda Bonilla and Doneisha Posey. As Bonilla, a Latina woman, and Posey, a Black woman, were conversing about equity in Indianapolis, they quickly identified a critical gap—neither woman knew any of the individuals within the other’s network. As the realization took hold, they realized there was one, sure-fire way to bring women together: host a brunch.

Women’s Equity Brunch, affectionately known as WE Brunch Indy, launched in 2021—and what started as an event has now evolved into a tightly connected network that helps educate, inspire, and propel women in every facet of their beings. 

Identifying a Need

It all began with a simple conversation—an exchange of ideas between Amanda and Doneisha, both passionate advocates for equity and inclusion. They pondered the possibility of creating a space where women could come together to discuss pressing issues facing their gender. As professionals entrenched in their respective fields, Amanda and Doneisha recognized the need for a platform that seamlessly blended the joy of brunch with meaningful discussions on advancing equity for women. Inspired by their shared vision, they embarked on a journey to turn their idea into reality.

“The creation of WE Brunch Indy felt seamless,” Bonilla reflected. “I believe in the value of connectedness—it’s a core theme in how I solve problems, particularly when looking to advance equity and belonging. The idea of convening a space to foster connections and build a network of support felt like a really easy charge for us to advance.”

So the two-woman team got to work. They selected a venue, started teasing the idea of an equity brunch with their friends, and landed on a name: Women’s Equity Brunch, or WE Brunch. Their hope? To spark an honest conversation, and see what happened next. 

“The call to advance equity has followed me throughout my childhood and certainly into my career in higher education and government sectors,” Posey recalled. “I’ve always been passionate about uniting people behind causes to realize impact, and Amanda shares that passion. We didn’t have a plan to host anything beyond that first brunch, and yet, women across central Indiana quickly rallied behind WE Brunch to spark a movement.” 

A movement was sparked, indeed. After hosting the first brunch, where tickets sold out in less than one week, Bonilla and Posey were overwhelmed with inquiries from women in their networks and beyond—when is the next brunch, and how do I get a ticket? That’s when they realized they were onto something special. 

More than a Meal

It’s easy to love a good brunch outing, but the secret sauce behind WE Brunch Indy’s immediate success was their attention to programming that would benefit attendees. From the integration of free professional headshots to the inclusion of a women-owned business vendor fair and open networking throughout the event, there was an incentive to arrive early and stay until the last minute of each gathering. The programming additions offered a creative draw, perfectly complimenting the true value of the brunch: sharing of knowledge to support the advancement of women.

Central to the mission of We Brunch Indy is the amplification of women’s voices. This is why each WE Brunch features a panel presentation organized around various topics, including women’s health equity, the power of networking and mentorship, building generational wealth, and more. By demystifying these topics by leveraging community leaders and subject-matter experts, WE Brunch is inviting the room to access education and resources that, in some instances, immediately increase health and wellness, career trajectories, and wealth building. 

“The brunch is beautiful and energizing and fun,” Posey shared. “But it’s also empowering to see women coming together to better themselves and those around them. It was important that this event wasn’t just rooted in socialization, but in advancing diverse women throughout our community.”

The Birth of a Movement

Perhaps what makes WE Brunch so unique is the commitment to its value of creating a space where everyone is welcome. For example, consider their original ticket pricing structure—in 2017, the Indianapolis Star reported that for every dollar the average man in Central Indiana made, the average Central Indiana woman made only $0.79. While that data point is shocking, it’s even more disheartening when segmented by race—and the brunch tickets reflected those disparities for their first year of events. If you identified as a Latina woman, your ticket price for the brunch was only $53 because on average, Latina women earn only $0.55 for every dollar a white man makes in Central Indiana. Their intentionality behind this pricing practice sparked conversations on pay equity and showcased the impact that unfair pay has on other aspects of women’s lives.

“We poured our hearts into creating WE Brunch, but it truly was born out of a desire to see all women succeed,” Bonilla explained. “Our intentionality around equitable ticket prices was us saying to our attendees, sponsors, and supporters: We are committed to creating conversations that drive change, and if that resonates with you, we want you in this network.” 

And as WE Brunch Indy approaches its fourth year, they’ve added another event, the WE Brunch Happy Hour. Created with similar motivations, Happy Hours include an expanded vendor fair featuring women-owned businesses, artists, and artisans. Happy Hours provide less formal programming while still offering opportunities for networking and connection-building among attendees. 

Leading for Change

One of the defining features of We Brunch Indy is its commitment to fostering meaningful connections among women. From seasoned professionals to budding entrepreneurs, attendees are united by a shared desire to effect change in their communities and beyond—and Bonilla and Posey were quickly approached by a fellow central Indiana leader ready to roll up her sleeves to lend a hand. 

Local community leader and equity champion, Tiffany Hanson got involved with her first WE Brunch in 2021, and in 2022 she officially joined the team to support sponsorship solicitation and marketing outreach. With nearly a decade of experience leading in the equity space, she was immediately driven to WE Brunch Indy because of its inclusivity for women.

“As a past attendee, I experienced WE Brunch firsthand, and I was drawn into the vast diversity within the network,” Hanson explained. “Diversity in age, in professional skill set, in industry—it was inspiring to see women from so many different backgrounds come together and share their knowledge and personal networks to help advance their fellow woman.”

Over the last two years, Hanson led the development of WE Brunch’s corporate partners, which enabled the organization to relocate to a larger venue, expand their events with the addition of Happy Hours, and feature more local women-owned businesses. 

“I became inspired by hearing the success stories of the female entrepreneurs that launched their businesses, gained strategic partnerships, and grew their business connections through attending and tabling at our events,” Hanson shared. 

Under Hanson’s leadership, WE Brunch has yet to host an event that wasn’t sold out. 

A Network for Action

Since its inception, We Brunch Indy has had a profound impact on the lives of women in Central Indiana and beyond. From inspiring women to run for office to encouraging others to leave corporate America and pursue entrepreneurship, We Brunch Indy has empowered countless women to take control of their destinies and chart their individual paths to success.

“I’m often asked about WE Brunch and what makes this initiative so special, and my answer is always the same—the magic is in the network,” said Bonilla. “By creating this network, we’re aligning women who may have driven the same routes to work, encountered the same corporate challenges, and yet they never actually crossed paths. Through WE Brunch, women have the space to build lasting friendships and relationships that help them achieve their highest potential.” 

Perhaps the greatest impact of We Brunch Indy lies in the ripple effect it has created within the community. Through its emphasis on education, empowerment, and amplification of women’s voices, We Brunch Indy has sparked a broader conversation about gender equity and social change, inspiring others to join the movement and lend their voices to the cause.

“Equity takes continuous investments in the community to have difficult conversations and drive change,” Posey said. “WE Brunch has created a space where we can address these conversations honestly and gain knowledge that we can use as a community to drive action.”

But education doesn’t stop at the brunch table. WE Brunch Indy is committed to providing ongoing support and resources to help women navigate the complexities of the professional world. WE Brunch Indy works closely with community partners to help women access workshops and professional services that will continue developing them in meaningful ways outside of brunches. 

A Renewed Commitment

As We Brunch Indy looks to the future, the possibilities are endless. With each new brunch, Bonilla and Posey continue to find ways to push the boundaries of what’s possible—challenging women to dream bigger, reach higher, and stand taller than ever before. And it’s not just about business; it’s about forging lasting friendships and support networks that extend far beyond the brunch table. Whether swapping career advice, sharing personal experiences, or simply lending a listening ear, the bonds formed at WE Brunch Indy are as diverse as the women who attend them.

“We happened to have a brunch planned right after Roe v. Wade was overturned and leading up to the event, we knew it was going to be a difficult gathering for some of our attendees,” Bonilla explained. “After that event, an attendee came up to me and said, ‘You make me brave.” If one woman feels inspired, supported, or seen after attending a WE Brunch, that’s all the more reason for us to continue hosting these gatherings for women in our community.” 

This commitment to WE Brunch also implies a commitment to future generations, something that co-founder Doneisha Posey is personally passionate about.

“Through WE Brunch Indy, women across central Indiana have the power to help inspire the new generation of women leading in equity,” Posey shared. “Part of my motivation with each brunch is to create a learning opportunity for my nine-year-old daughter. Allowing her and other young women to attend brunches and learn about the injustices that women face while also exposing them to ideas about how to fight these injustices is something that I’m incredibly proud of.”

Brunch in 2024

The first brunch of 2024 will take place on March 3, 2024, featuring Hidden Stories of Resilience, and the second brunch is slated for October 6, 2024, featuring Women in the Workplace. 

About the Co-Founders:

Amanda Bonilla

Amanda Bonilla is a first-generation college student of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, who has dedicated her life to serving her community. With a background in education, activism, coaching, and mentorship, she tirelessly advocates for inclusive learning environments. At Clemson University, she led cultural awareness programs and retention initiatives for students of Color, establishing Latino student organizations and representing South Carolina for the NASPA Latino Knowledge Community.

Returning to Indiana, Amanda spent seven years at IUPUI (now IU Indianapolis), creating the nationally recognized Social Justice Scholars program, and receiving awards like the ACUI Joseph H. Benedict Social Change Award for Racial Justice. She co-founded the Inclusion Consultant Network in 2016, providing cultural competency training and services. Amanda serves on the boards of United Way of Central Indiana, Project Stepping Stone, and Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority Inc.

Recognized for her advocacy, she’s a 2020 cohort member of the Indiana Latino Institute Leadership Circle and was awarded Advocacy in the Latino Community by the Indy Chamber in 2021. Currently serving as Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Community Engagement at Ivy Tech Community College, Amanda continues her lifelong commitment to empowering others and promoting equity. Connect with Amanda at https://www.inclusionconsultantnetwork.org/

Doneisha Posey

Doneisha Posey, a prominent figure in the fields of civil rights and diversity, has built a successful career as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Black Onyx Management. Recognized as one of Indy’s Black Leadership by VisitIndy, Doneisha has emerged as a Multicultural Millennial Leader, advocating for increased representation and opportunity for historically marginalized communities, particularly Black and Latina women.

Across corporate, higher education, and government sectors, Doneisha’s overarching goal has been to foster equity and inclusion. She serves as an adjunct professor at Indiana University McKinney School of Law, teaching courses on racial justice. She has previously held the role of chief diversity officer at Ivy Tech Community College. Doneisha’s efforts have earned her numerous accolades, including being named Forty under 40 and Indy’s Best and Brightest in Education/Nonprofit.

As the Co-Founder of Women’s Equity Brunch, Doneisha channels her passion into purpose, consulting on matters of pay equity, salary negotiations, and civil rights issues. With a mission to increase diversity in the legal profession and other male-dominated sectors, Doneisha is dedicated to empowering women of color and advocating for their inclusion. As a speaker, she offers valuable insights, informed perspectives, and a wealth of experience as an attorney, leader, and community-focused advocate. Get to know Doneisha at https://www.dlposey.com/

Connect with #WEBrunchIndy!

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Founder and CEO at Polished Strategic Communications | Website

Casey (Cawthon) Harrison has been a lifelong Hoosier since she was two years old. Harrison is a two-time graduate of IUPUI, most recently with her master’s in applied communication specializing in business media. Harrison currently serves as the vice president of marketing and communications with the Indy Chamber and recently celebrated her eleventh year as an associate faculty at IUPUI.

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