Our Story

Twyler L. Jenkins

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

The I Am That Woman Retreat was born at my 43rd birthday celebration when I hosted a dinner with 43 of my closest friends, family members and mentors who had inspired, influenced and impressed my life.

I’d created that birthday celebration as a platform for me and my peers to dialogue as mature women who could share wisdom and best practices for living life fully and with purpose. My life coach Sheree Franklin and I moderated the conversation on the topics of sisterhood, health, spirituality and love.

We laughed; we cried; and we learned so much from each other! The hours were full of testimonies along the lines of “I couldn’t have done it without … ,” “If it wasn’t for … ,”  “Remember to take time to … ,” and “The most important thing to remember is… ”.

It was more than what I could have anticipated and proved to be something I couldn’t and shouldn’t let go. I continued to mediate and ask God for my next career step as I was closing in on 15 years of meeting and event planning with Strategic Events Solutions, Inc. (SES), the business I founded. As the president and chief strategist for SES, I had led the company to successfully provide services for some of the most prominent and prestigious organizations, companies and government agencies in the Chicagoland area. My sense of accomplishment was beckoning me to create my next endeavor – and the birthday celebration opened the door.

The purpose of the I Am That Woman Retreat, then, is to convene like-minded women who want to live a holistic life of wellness. We spend most of our lives taking care of everyone else. We sometimes lose ourselves mentally, emotionally, financially and/or spiritually trying to ensure our households, communities, churches, friends and family are well. But it is imperative that we  also pour resources into ourselves and put our oxygen mask on first. This retreat’s purpose is to allow women to stop and really breathe. At last! To learn and appreciate best practices from world-renown speakers as well as from each other. 

The retreat will provide resources, answers and solutions to mind, body and soul wellness. Just as I was facing and figuring out my “next phase,” I want this retreat to open the door to YOUR next phase.

Twyler Jenkins has more than 30 years of meeting and event planning experience. She is the co-president of the South Side Community Art Center Board of Directors and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Meeting Planners International (MPI), and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). She is one of 11 children and loves and enjoys spending time with family and friends. Twyler resides in Chicago, IL.

Pictured Above: Twyler L. Jenkins

Pictured Above: Dawn Steele Halbert

Dawn Halbert

I am thrilled and blessed to a be partner and co-producer of the I Am That Woman Retreat!

After spending over three decades in advertising, marketing and media sales, I knew I was ready for a change. The funny thing is that sometimes life makes the change before you do! When the company I worked for downsized, I found myself more excited than afraid of what my next move would be. When my longtime friend and colleague Twyler Jenkins told me about her vison for the I Am That Woman Retreat. I was all in! The “woman” she described for the IATW Retreat was mature, confident, accomplished, poised for the next big thing in life – and in need of a great plan. This was me and plenty of women I know. I, for one, am ready to author and commit to my master plan and to help other women shape their own.

What I know for certain about these coming years is that my retirement era will not look like my parents’.  As Baby Boomers, those in my generation have been beneficiaries of gains from the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement. Those times opened up so many career opportunities that were not previously available for minorities and women. They also led plenty of Baby Boomer and Gen X women to many “firsts” in breaking through barriers at work, in politics, and at various organizations. However, being a “first” comes with a lot of responsibilities and proving yourself, which by the latter stages of our careers can leave us exhausted, isolated and in need in reinvigoration. 

One thing that is clear to me going forward, though, is that women like me no longer have anything else to prove. We have the smarts and the abilities to ply our many talents and live the next phases of our lives on our own terms, making the next phase the best phase of them all.

We’ve also learned by now that things don’t just happen. Knowledge is power, and planning is key. Our goal at the I Am That Women Retreat is to have women leave Mexico revitalized, refreshed and with the tools needed to make their “next” their “best.” I hope that you can join us on this journey!

Dawn Steele Halbert has worked in media sales for companies, including Chicago Magazine, Ebony, Time Inc., and the Meredith Corporation. A self-described “Brooklyn Girl in a Chicago World,” Dawn has volunteered with many organizations, such as The Chicago Urban League Metro Board and the United Negro College Fund, and was the first African-American president of the Chicago Media Association. Dawn is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Chicago chapter of the LPGA Amateur Golf Association. She lives in Chicago with Percy Halbert, her husband of 26 years. She has two stepdaughters and five beautiful grandchildren.