After years of joining different women’s empowerment groups, one Gainesville resident is taking matters into her own hands to create a space for women to discuss concerns and learn from each other.

The women’s empowerment group I’m DOPE will have its first meetup Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cypress and Grove Brewing Company. The meetup will have fun music, giveaways, food and inspiring speakers. 

“The purpose behind I’m DOPE is to highlight the everyday woman that’s doing really dope things,” said founder Katie McKnight-Johnson.

McKnight-Johnson, 36, said she spent many years in search of the right empowerment group hoping to grow emotionally, physically and spiritually. However, she said she left many of the groups feeling the exact opposite. 

“I was never really feeling empowered,” McKnight-Johnson said. “It’s good to see people, but what am I learning from it? What am I actually able to take from these meetings and apply to my everyday life?”

After going through multiple group trials and failed attempts, McKnight-Johnson decided to take matters into her own hands.

About a year ago, McKnight-Johnson created the I’m DOPE women’s empowerment network. 

The acronym DOPE stands for Definitely On Personal Elevation. McKnight-Johnson said a DOPE woman is comfortable with herself and possess the ability and desire to learn from others. 

She said her goal for the group is to have meetups once a quarter, where women can come, check-in with each other and learn from guest speakers. 

“My vision for this event is for women to get together in one room with like-minded individuals to learn and to grow,” McKnight-Johnson said. She added that the night’s discussion points will include a variety of topics including health, finances, relationships and whatever it takes to make women better holistically.

Saturday attendees can also look forward to a yoga instructor who will teach them how to use yoga and meditation to de-stress from the pressures of being a mom, student and/or working woman. 

McKnight-Johnson said women can be complicated beings and they have to let go of the stress and complications of life to truly grow.

“If we sit inside of the complication and never elevate ourselves, we learn to accept dysfunction,” she said. “If you continue to elevate yourself, no matter what may come, you will always come out on the positive side because you can learn from it.”

McKnight-Johnson left a piece of advice for those who want to start elevating themselves today. 

“Take care of yourself. Self-care is important,” she said.

Ticket sales for the DOPE Summer Night closed on Wednesday; however, those interested in joining the empowerment network can stay up to date with their future meetups by connecting with the group on their Facebook page