Empowering women through dance

There was never a dull moment during Lanita Patton’s (BSBA ’15) time at the Heavener School of Business.

She spent her days studying for her finance courses, pursuing a minor in entrepreneurship, mentoring students in the Florida Leadership Academy and as a Career and Academic Peer Mentor, representing the Black Student Union as its treasurer and as Miss Black Student Union, and serving as the marketing director of the Minority Business Society, among many other activities.

Her evenings were no less busy. She cheered on many of UF’s athletic teams as a member of the Florida Dazzlers, the university’s official dance team.

“Being heavily involved on campus definitely enforced discipline and organization into my life,” she said. “Honestly, my involvement and busy schedule helped tremendously because it made me a more well-rounded student.”

Even though Patton has since graduated from UF, her life is no less fast-paced. As a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), she travels around the country four days a week working with telecommunications and media companies to increase their operational efficiency and streamline processes.

The other three days of her week are dedicated to her startup company, First Impressions, an organization which empowers generations of women through dance and movement.

“I started First Impressions not only because I’m passionate about dance, but also because I am a strong advocate for women’s empowerment,” she said. “I want to use my platform to help women exude confidence from within and take that confidence from the dance floor into every aspect of their lives.”

Patton created First Impressions with a mission to foster a positive and judgment free environment where women can be unapologetically confident, embrace their individuality, and encourage and support each other.

“There’s this misconception that there’s not enough room for everyone to thrive, but there is,” she said. “Everyone is on their specific journey, and we can support each other along the way. Maya Angelou said it best. We are phenomenal women.”

Patton plans to continue to grow First Impressions, while also balancing it with her work at PwC. She feels prepared to take on that challenge, though, thanks to her time at the Heavener School of Business.

“Overall, Heavener did a great job at preparing me to be a polished young professional,” she said. “The classes and programs really give you the skills you need to be able to come into a professional setting and perform at a high level right out of the gate.

“I got to experience challenges and success [at UF], which contributed to my professional development.”