BE, Bank of America Honor Black Board Members of Largest Corporations at National Museum

Scores of black board members who represent the corporate elite made a bit of history Wednesday night as they were honored at the spectacular National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. BLACK ENTERPRISE saluted those listed on its just-released Registry of Corporate Directors, an exclusive club whose members serve on the boards of the nation’s largest publicly traded companies.

“It is our great pleasure to hold this special recognition ceremony for those at the highest level of corporate America and exemplars of consummate business leadership,” BE President and CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. told the crowd of high-powered business and government leaders at this invitation-only gathering hosted by Bank of America, which has been included among BE’s Best Companies for Diversity and was praised by Graves for its culture of inclusion, including corporate governance. Among Bank of America’s top-level executives in attendance: D. Steve Boland, Managing Director, Consumer Lending and one of BE’s 300 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America; Andy Seig, President of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management; and Cynthia H. Bowman, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and one of BE’s Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity. 

“We look forward to members of our B.E. Registry continuing their individual and collective advocacy to make major companies better by creating fully inclusive environments. They realize that opportunity is the byproduct of corporate policies and practices related to hiring, training, and promotion of employees; procurement of suppliers; and philanthropic giving to charities and causes. So if you care about African Americans in senior management, more contracts for black-owned firms, or the allocation of more corporate dollars to charities, causes, and nonprofits that impact communities of color, then you must care about board diversity and must salute the value of these brilliant fiduciaries of shareholder value.”

Among Registry members representing iconic corporations in attendance: Lionel L. Nowell III of Bank of America; Ray M. Robinson of American Airlines; Peggy Alford of Facebook; Bruce S. Gordon of Northrop Grumman: Barbara L. Bowles of WEC Energy; J. Veronica Biggins of Southwest Airlines and Louis B. Lynn and K. David Boyer, Jr. of BB&T Corp., currently pending merger approval with SunTrust Banks to create TRUIST Financial Corp. (its CEO Kelly S. King was one of the high-level CEOs at the event).

For the seventh consecutive year, BE has unveiled its listing of blacks seated at the nation’s largest publicly traded companies. Graves revealed the configuration of this year’s list: 322 black corporate directors at 307 S&P 500 companies, a slight but noticeable increase from 308 at 316 index corporations in 2018. He also focused on the continued persistence of “imbalance in the boardroom” as the S&P 500 achieved the milestone of having 100% representation of white women on its boards while roughly 37% of that group do not have any black representation in their boardrooms.

The B.E. Registry, along with accompanying lists of companies with and without black board members, serves as one of the leading annual barometers on the state of diversity and inclusion in corporate governance. For more than a half decade, BE’s data and analysis have been used by civil rights groups, government agencies, and corporate diversity advocacy organizations to change corporate board composition within entire sectors—most prominently Silicon Valley-based tech companies.

Bank of America director Lionel Nowell III

Other speakers at the event, which included Smithsonian Secretary and NMAAHC’s founding director Lonnie Bunch and Executive Leadership Council Chair Tonie Leatherberry, commented on the importance of this expanding phalanx of black guardians of shareholder value. In addition to citing the significance of black directors fittingly being saluted at “the world’s most diverse museum,” Bunch noted that NMAAHC was developed through corporate donations due, in large part, to the efforts of black directors like those being honored.

Leatherberry, who also serves as Deloitte’s board relations leader and foundation president, cited statistics from the 2018 Missing Pieces—which the leading accounting and consulting firm developed in conjunction with the Alliance for Board Diversity—as confirmation of the overwhelmingly positive impact of diverse boards. In addition to the report disclosing that the number of Fortune 500 companies with 40% diversity has doubled from 2012 and 2018, she also said it revealed that publicly traded corporations with racial and gender diversity greatly outperform peer companies that lack such inclusion in corporate governance.

Speaking on behalf of fellow B.E. Registry members, Lionel Nowell III discussed the value of diversity and inclusion at the highest levels at Bank of America and other corporations that enthusiastically embraced that thrust. The former PepsiCo treasurer is one of two African American directors on the financial services giant’s corporate board—the other, Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald, appears on the cover of BE’s accompanying print issue. Nowell told those assembled that as corporate America continues to be transformed by major business shifts and challenging financial headwinds that could lead to downsizing and realignments, black directors must remain vigilant in ensuring that the pipeline of black senior managers and prospective c-suite leadership continues to flow.

Career | Black Enterprise


Don’t Just Level Up, Leverage Up in the Fourth Quarter

We are officially in the last quarter of the year and everyone is talking about it. I’m not sure how the last nine months have been for you, but, if you are awaiting 2020 with great expectations then it is time to go hard. Leveling up was a huge deal this year, and now it is time to leverage up. Whether you are an entrepreneur, intrapreneur, or climbing the corporate ladder—now is the time to use all of the grit and ambition that have gotten you through the year thus far to help catapult you to where you want to be personally and professionally.

Here are seven ways to leverage up in the 4th quarter:

1. Create an action plan

There are less than three months remaining before we enter 2020. Yes, you read that correctly. So it’s time to create a winning game plan. That plan could include you hiring a career coach, formulating ideas for a side hustle, intentionally attending professional conferences specific to your interests, or launching your own business.


2. Take inventory.

Believe it or not, nine times out of 10 you already have everything that you need. Whether it’s something that you possess tangibly or intangibly, you need to use what you have or look within for what you’ve been searching for.


3. Communicate clearly.

Being clear about who you are and what it is that you desire can get you far. We’ve all heard that a closed mouth doesn’t get fed…beyond that, it is important to effectively communicate with others.


4. Have something to offer. 

Have you checked your inbox lately? If so, you’ve probably noticed that a number of people are making their rounds based on their goals. While there is nothing wrong with that—it is important to remember to counter your ask by having something to offer. People love when they are offered help without having to ask.


5. Make authentic connections with others.

Networking is not a numbers game. Being connected with hundreds of people who can’t do anything in partnership with you is a waste of your time and energy. While not everyone has time for coffee or lunch, find creative ways to connect with people on and offline.


6. Incorporate a self-care routine.

The only way that you can go hard in the fourth quarter is if you are mentally, spiritually, and physically fit. In other words, get in alignment.


7. Let go.

You can’t defy gravity by taking everything with you. There might be some things (people places, too) that you have held onto for too long and you can’t fully receive what it is that you say that you want or your heart desires. Not everyone and everything can go with you.


If you weren’t ready before, we sure hope that you are getting ready to strategize to win! Remember, it’s not about how you started the year, it’s about how you finish. Leverage what you have and go for what you want!

It’s time.

Career | Black Enterprise


Diversity Expert Talks About Getting More Blacks Working In Golf

Pro golfer might be the only career that comes to mind when most people think of the PGA. But as a member organization, the PGA of America is responsible for recruiting, training, educating, and deploying all 29,000 people who have chosen careers in the business of golf.

The PGA is working hard to make sure that workforce mirrors America in terms of diversity. That’s why it has partnered with Black Enterprise for the video podcast series On The Tee, to “grow the game and drive greater inclusion across golf” by showcasing “the successes of people from diverse backgrounds working and playing in the industry.”

In the second episode, PGA’s Chief People Officer Sandy Cross sits down with diversity expert Porter Braswell. Braswell is the co-founder and CEO of Jopwell, the leading career advancement platform for black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals. Jopwell is a strategic partner of the PGA, helping the organization achieve its aim of diversifying the workforce in the golf industry.

“We are so excited about this partnership, specifically because when we set out on this mission to build Jopwell, the goal was to expose our community to the breadth of opportunities that are available,” Braswell says. “And when I think about the PGA and the game of golf, historically, there have been challenges that have prevented certain communities from having access.”

Braswell and Cross discuss some of the many different ways Jopwell and the PGA are approaching their goal holistically and authentically. Representation is a large part of diversity and inclusion. So their first initiative was the Jopwell PGA Collection, a gallery of images which lets diverse audiences literally see themselves within the game of golf.

The aim is to get more blacks working in golf by “allowing the community to understand that they are welcomed,” says Braswell, “and that there are ample opportunities for them within the golf industry.”

Career | Black Enterprise


Saturday Sessions: David Wax Museum performs “Equal in the Darkness”

Fronted by married duo David Wax and Suz Slezak, the Charlottesville, Virginia-based musicians of David Wax Museum blend folk, roots and Americana with the regional music of Mexico. In 2010, they were dubbed “the break out act” at the Newport Folk Festival, and in August, they released “Line of Light,” their latest studio album. David Wax Museum joins “CBS This Morning: Saturday” to make its national television debut.
Entertainment –


General Motors Executive Tonya Hallett On Being Authentic in the C-Suite

Black women are earning college degrees at record levels, ascending to the top of the corporate ladder, and proving that they are—and were always—a force to be reckoned with. Yet, their achievements in 2019 do not expel the workplace inequities and systemic disadvantages that they face. According to research from LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co., only one in 25 C-suite leaders is a woman of color, while for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 60 black women are promoted. Meanwhile, black women receive less support from their managers and are less likely to receive opportunities to showcase their work.

To combat the compounding issues and isms that black women face in the workplace, eight dynamic black women leaders opened up about their journey to the C-suite at the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislature Conference. From natural hair to authenticity to owning your value, the executives discussed a range of issues they’ve faced—and overcame—in order to advance in their careers. Following the panel, titled “African American Women in the C-Suite: How Did You Get There? Was It Worth It?,” BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke to panelist Tonya Hallett, the Executive Director of Global Manufacturing Human Resources at General Motors, about getting ahead at work while being authentic to yourself.

black women

L-R: Wendy Lewis, Tonya Hallett, and Michelle Brown at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislature Conference (Photo credit: Sheryl Estrada)

Natural Hair in the Workplace

Like many black professional women, Hallett admitted that her decision to sport natural hair back in 2007 was challenging. “My natural hair journey—it’s always very personal,” she told BE. “There’s this whole other layer of socializing.”

Even while transitioning her chemically processed hair to natural tresses, Hallett revealed that she succumbed to societal pressure to straighten her hair. “On my journey of having to socialize it for work, I’ve made decisions that have caused me to restart my natural journey.” At times, she says, she’d felt certain positions and roles allowed her “to be a bit more creative or wear my natural hair.” But, in other environments, that didn’t work. “So then I go and put some more heat in my hair, or [start] doing styles that just weren’t good and my hair did not love. So I’d kind of go back on my journey.” She added, “Having to restart, it gives you this feeling of failure and [causes you to] question yourself, like ‘why am I just not comfortable being who I am at work?’”

Hallett’s apprehensions about her natural hair is an issue black women know too well. According to a study released by Dove, black women are 80% more likely to change their natural hair in order to meet social norms or expectations at work. On the other hand, many who don’t conform to Eurocentric standards are 50% more likely to be sent home from their jobs or know of a black woman who was sent home over her hair.

Hallett says she didn’t fully embrace the beauty of her natural hair until she spoke to her coworkers about her inhibitions during a diversity and inclusion workshop held at her job. That’s when she recalls saying, “I’m going to own the conversation about my hair, I’m going to bring it up, I’m going to talk about the fact that I need ‘psychological safety’ to do whatever I need to do with my hair or my person.”

In addition to owning her natural hair, Hallett says she now intentionally wears it in certain styles to empower other professional black women. “I want to make sure that women see that we can embrace our truest selves, our most authentic selves,” she said.

Walking in Power

Hallett, who is the highest-ranking African American woman at General Motors, advises other professional women of color to tune out negative thoughts that hold them back and instead speak positive affirmations that declare your power. Too often “we don’t tell ourselves, you can go sit at that table. We don’t tell ourselves if you’re at the table, lean in and engage and offer profound thoughts. Share what you know.”

According to her, it’s critical to be cognizant of the words you tell yourself.  “Sometimes the self-talk is more negative than positive and it takes work to change that self-talk.” She added, “I think there are lots of rooms that people don’t even think that they can walk in because their self-talk says ‘you’re not going to be successful there.’”

However, as a leader, she walks in confidence and uses her position of power to inspire others through her example. “I can embrace being different and still being true,” she said, adding that she no longer feels confined by society’s perception of “what success looks like because success has to come from within and people being comfortable in their skin.”

Career | Black Enterprise


Pelicans Hire WNBA Legend Teresa Weatherspoon as Assistant Coach

Add another impressive accomplishment to WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon’s resume.

According to Sports Illustrated, the former basketball player was added as an assistant coach with the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. Weatherspoon will serve as a two-way player development coach. She joins the ranks of 11 female assistant coaches in the league since the San Antonio Spurs hired Becky Hammon back in 2014.

Weatherspoon was one of the WNBA’s most recognizable players during her storied career. She played seven seasons for the New York Liberty, making five All-Star teams. She was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this past summer. In 2011, fans voted Weatherspoon one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history.

As a player at Louisiana Tech, she led the team to the national championship in 1988 and won the Wade Trophy as the player of the year. She received a gold medal as a member of the Olympic basketball team in 1988. After college, Weatherspoon played overseas in Italy, France, and Russia for eight years before debuting in the newly formed WNBA in 1997. Weatherspoon won the league’s first two defensive player of the year awards. She led the New York Liberty to the first-ever WNBA Finals in 1997 and once again, in 1999.

She returned to her alma mater in 2008 as an assistant coach for the Lady Techsters, and was soon elevated to head coach. She compiled a 99-71 record from 2009 to 2014. Weatherspoon spent the last four seasons as the Liberty’s director of player and franchise development.

Along with Weatherspoon, the Pelicans hired AJ Diggs as an assistant coach. Diggs has coached the Maine Red Claws, Austin Spurs, and most recently, the Raptors 905 in the G League. Both have been assigned to work with the Pelicans’ two-way players, traveling with them to assignments with New Orleans’ G League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks.

Career | Black Enterprise


Black Women in Tech: Dell’s Only Black Woman Senior Vice President

Najuma Atkinson has built a 20-year career at Dell Technologies Inc. Earlier this year, she joined Dell’s Chief Customer Office organization as the senior vice president for customer advocacy, insights & analytics, becoming Dell’s only African American female SVP and one of few senior black women in tech.

Atkinson started her career in finance after earning her bachelor of arts degree in political science from Fisk University. In 1999, she took a job at Dell as a tech support manager but quickly transitioned to human resources. She got a master’s degree in organizational management from Trevecca Nazarene University, and over the next two decades she worked her way up from HR operations manager to vice president.

Now, she and her team are responsible for customer data and analytics strategy, including using data science to improve the quality of Dell’s proprietary customer data, developing products that monetize that data, and addressing customer pain points. Here she shares how she became one of the few black women in tech to make it to her level.

How did you start your career?

I graduated from Fisk University with a science degree. But I went to the financial industry because they’re willing to give you any opportunities. So I actually worked for SunTrust bank first as an analyst. And that’s where I found that I have a proclivity for data, and information, and for numbers. I came to Dell Technologies as the front line tech support manager. At Dell, we were opening up our first call center outside of Central Texas, and they wanted leaders. They really didn’t care that you had technical capability or capacity. But they wanted to make sure that you had good leadership skills; I had those. And that’s how I got the first opportunity. About 18 months later, I moved into HR.

You built up a 20-year career in HR. Why did you decide to make a transition?

When you think about the skills, it really was a natural transition. I started to look for opportunities that would leverage those skills—how do I bring together groups of individuals, using facts and data to solve problems and create solutions that empower people and make situations better? HR is definitely one of those places to do it. But I wanted to do it for our customer.

I had an opportunity to see our chief customer officer, Karen Quintos, in action. She was talking about the work that she did in the broad organization and I’m like, “Well, that’s fascinating.” So I was at an event with Michael Dell, and I took the opportunity. I said, ‘”You know what really interests me, Michael? I think my next career should be in the chief customer office. I’m really interested in that space, and I’d like to explore it more if I’m ever given the opportunity.” Karen heard about that. And Karen is one who looks for skills and capabilities, not necessarily job titles, as she’s adding individuals to her team. She felt like if this was something I wanted to explore, I should be given that opportunity.

The more I interviewed and the more I spoke to people, the more I said, “Yeah, this is for me.” This is an organization that I think is at a pivot. It’s got broad, complex things that they’re looking at. And I do that very well. I take the complex and make it really, really simple. So I was bringing the skills that I had so that we could drive strategy for the organization.

Atkinson at the Dell BE Smart Student Symposium (Image: Black Enterprise)

There’s a huge lesson there in asking for what you want.

What’s the worst that could happen, right? He could say, “Well, that’s very interesting” and then we could change the subject. Or he could listen. And that’s what he looks for. He wants people that have perspective and opinion, and they’ll go after what they want. That’s what our organization is about.

You were successful at what you were already doing. What made you comfortable making that kind of leap?

I think those individuals that are successful are those that are risk-takers, that understand that you may not know everything and have 100% of the answer. But if you’ve got like 70%, then you should go for it. Was it a risk? It definitely was. I had built my career in HR, my credibility was there, my successes were there, most of my sponsors were there. I was going to be completely stepping outside of that and moving away from those relationships and that support to try something new. At the same time, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

If I stayed where I was, I could continue to do really great work. But would that be good for Dell? Was it the best thing where I could be the most impactful? They can’t have you play small, and let’s be No. 1, right? We can’t go after market share, achieve success, if people play small. This is a unique environment in that it truly allows you to be empowered and to try stuff that has never been tried. That’s what innovation is all about.

It can be difficult for black women in tech. What challenges have come specifically with making the transition into this role?

One of the interesting challenges is credibility when you work with highly technical people. I work with Ph.D.s, data scientists. They live and breathe data, they design strategies, they build infrastructure, these are like the big brain, Mensa people. And that is not who I am. And that’s not what I bring to the table. But I’ve worked very quickly to build credibility, and I did it by being authentic. I will never be as good as you are in that space. And I don’t need to be. Here’s where I think I have value.

Then going out there and figuring out what are all the things that we need to go after, and synthesizing that into two to three key actions that align to the overall vision of my leader. Those are my biggest challenges right now. I’m on a listening tour. I’m talking to my key stakeholders and our customers. And I’m like, “What do you need from us? How can we help you? What have we done effectively? And what would you like to see differently from us?” This is an environment that moves very fast. So I know that I have to quickly pivot and move to action. When you’re at a senior level, they want you to make an impact. That is why they put you in the job.

Career | Black Enterprise


PGA of America Launches New Series With Black Enterprise

The PGA of America, the professional trade association that represents 29,000 professionals with careers in the business of golf, wants you to know that golf is for everyone. But it’s not just telling you; it’s launching a video podcast series to show you.

The series is called “On The Tee,” and the premiere episode features Sandy Cross, Chief People Officer of the PGA, introducing the campaign and explaining the organization’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“We’re trying to make a very intentional shift in the golf industry from what historically was an exclusive industry and sport to becoming exclusively inclusive,” Cross says.

A new episode will debut each month over the next few months, featuring PGA professionals talking about the industry’s efforts to diversify and spotlighting programs such as PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) for military veterans and PGA WORKS for a more inclusive workforce.

The goals of the series include:

  • to grow the game and drive greater inclusion across the golf industry by reaching a broader audience
  • to provide awareness to golf consumers about all the uniquely rewarding opportunities the golf industry has to offer those who participate in the game, workforce, and supply chain of golf
  • to showcase those from diverse backgrounds already working and playing in the industry (their career paths and stories of their success) in order for people from those historically underrepresented audiences to one day see themselves playing, working, and supplying the golf industry.

The PGA strategically partnered with Black Enterprise for “On The Tee” to provide an authentic and well respected voice in the African American community to help achieve its vision of a golf industry that mirrors America.

Check out each new episode, along with a PGA of America photo gallery and related content about blacks in golf, on the dedicated page for On The Tee at

Career | Black Enterprise


UPS Is Looking To Fill 100,000 Seasonal Jobs For The Holidays

With the holiday season around the corner, UPS is making sure they’re prepared for the shipping rush. They are looking to put about 100,000 new hires in seasonal jobs to help with the increase in service. And it’s safe to say, they could use the help. In 2017, UPS delivered more than 700 million packages during the holidays.

“We expect another record peak season this year, with daily package deliveries nearly doubling compared to our average of 20 million per day,” Jim Barber, UPS’s COO, told CNBC.

The jobs offered are both full- and part-time work. Employees would be responsible for package handling, driving, and driver assistance. UPS has also announced that they’re willing to pay between $ 15 and $ 30 per hour along with added benefits. 

One such benefit the company is offering is up to $ 1,300 for college expenses to eligible seasonal employees who are students, through its Earn and Learn program. That comes in handy for the 20% of applicants who would use their earnings for just that. UPS also provides its workers with healthcare and retirement benefits. 


According to a recent survey of Americans who hold, have held, or would consider taking seasonal jobs, 57% of applicants use their earnings to catch up on bills and 44% are just looking for some extra cash while 40% use their earning for buying holiday presents. The survey was conducted by TRUE Global Intelligence for UPS.

It’s important to remember that these jobs are not permanent positions. Nearly 70% of applicants want their seasonal job to turn into full-time employment, and almost all believe seasonal and temp jobs are a good entree to a career. But throughout the past couple of years, only 35% of UPS’ holiday hires were kept on after January.

Job seekers can apply at However, UPS isn’t the only company gearing up for the holiday season. Amazon is also looking to hire about 30,000 employees for full-time work.  

Career | Black Enterprise


Tamron Hall Rebounds With New Self-Titled Talk Show on ABC

Tamron Hall has a new self-titled talk show that is sure to reignite her successful journalistic career.

Hall, who hosted MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall, and Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall, made history in 2014 when she became the first black woman to host the Today show on NBC. However, she walked away from hosting Today in 2017  following reports that she was blindsided by news that her slot would be given to Fox’s Megyn Kelly. Instead of taking a lesser, unsecured role with the network, she decided to opt-out of her contract with NBC altogether. Coincidentally, Kelly eventually lost her show over a blackface controversy and subpar TV ratings and reviews.

Based on a partnership between Disney and Hearst Television, Hall’s new show, The Tamron Hall Show, will reach up to 50% of U.S. television households, including eight of the top 10 markets. Before she inked this deal, she originally entered into a partnership agreement with The Weinstein Co. before Harvey Weinstein’s #MeToo scandal erupted and destroyed that union.

“The beauty about the show is that it’s not about one lane, it’s a reflection of who she is in her entirety,” said co-executive producer Talia Parkinson-Jones, a veteran of The Wendy Williams Show. “We know exactly what she wants, which is to inspire people.”

Hall joins a long list of black women who have hosted their own talk show, including Oprah Winfrey, Rolanda Watts, Wendy Williams, Tyra Banks, Queen Latifah, Wanda Sykes, and Mo’Nique.

In addition to a new talk show, which debuted Monday, Hall has a new husband, music executive, Steven Greener, and a 4-month-old son named Moses, proving that life will go on if one workplace gig doesn’t work out.

“I think we all go through that where we take on more responsibilities—life, the savings account—we lose some of that fearlessness that allows you to take those leaps of faith,” Hall told BLACK ENTERPRISE last year. “God is not going to help me unless I help myself. Having that fearless energy going in and shaking hands, meeting people and asking for the job. When you don’t get it, ask again, and again because ‘no’ is nothing. ‘No’ is a ‘yes’ waiting.

Career | Black Enterprise


Howard University Alum Partners With School on Executive Certification in Diversity Coaching

The Howard University School of Business (HUSB) is launching an Executive Certification in Diversity Coaching (ECDC) program. The program is a partnership with the award-winning CoachDiversity Institute (CDI).

The certification is geared toward executives and professionals who want to develop successful coaching competencies, diversity and inclusion integration, and leadership skills for use with individuals, teams, or organizations. With the inaugural cohort kicking off in November, this four-month program includes five days of in-classroom training on campus at historic Howard University, followed by a peer and mentor coaching practicum, concluding with a paper and evaluation. The ECDC is fully accredited by the International Coaching Federation.

“The Howard University School of Business is excited about our strategic partnership with CoachDiversity and the launch of the Executive Certification in Diversity Coaching program. As a global leader in business education, HUSB is not only interested in the development of world-class leaders and executives, but also in the development of skilled coaches who are equipped to support the success of diverse talent, and also lead the evolution of diversity and inclusion in the modern workplace” states Kim R. Wells, executive director of Executive Education.

The mission is to offer a high-value, industry-edge program that disrupts how executive coaching is presented, embraced, practiced, and executed. With the landscape of business, corporate, education, and entertainment changing at unprecedented rates, executives and professionals of all levels struggle to stay afloat. Consequently, organizations are in dire need of capable and top-skilled leaders who can navigate an inclusive workforce through career shifts, cultural competencies, workplace challenges, and performance improvements.

Building upon a cornerstone of innovation and excellence, Howard University is working toward collaborating with high-achieving, forward thinkers who are ready to own their influence in the marketplace. Program attendees will be equipped with the latest education, inspiration, best practices, and strategies to make an indelible impact on their organizations, communities, and spheres of influence for generations to come.


Executive Certification in Diversity Coaching by Howard University and CoachDiversity Institute


We spoke with Dr. Towanna Burrous, CEO/Founder of CoachDiversity Institute, the only institution that combines the transformational power of coaching with diversity and leadership training, to share her thoughts on the ECDC program:

What are your thoughts on the evolution of diversity?

Diversity has been evolving for a long time. However, today we are discussing the business case for diversity and inclusion. The more diverse and inclusive the team, the higher the performance. The more diverse and inclusive the team, the better the service. The more diverse and inclusive the team, the better the company.

What is the unique edge about ECDC?

Traditional diversity training is centered on raising awareness around power and privilege only, leaving participants feeling uneasy, angry, resentful, and defensive. We’re placing greater value on learning new tools that help leaders think differently about difference and translating these skills into everyday practice.

Why is there an urgency to produce capable leaders with a skill set in diversity coaching?

The skills required of a great leader have transformed over the years. Over the past decades, our workforces have undergone rapid demographic and technological change, trends that will continue for the foreseeable future. Now more than ever, institutions need to cultivate leadership skills to prepare them to meet today’s challenges. Our world needs leaders that are nimble, adaptive, open to new ideas and technologies, and able to work across a vast array of diverse populations to solve today’s complex problems. Though some are born leaders, often a successful leader requires continuous learning to diversify their set of skills.

How do you feel about the partnership with Howard University?

There are no words that can express my gratitude for what Howard has done for me. It is an honor to return to my alma mater as a successful businesswoman. I’m a product of this great institution and this partnership is proof they are proud of me too.

Career | Black Enterprise


After Being Called the ‘N-Word,’ I Discovered My Own Complacency

Words affect me. Blatant disrespect angers me. So, when those two collided in what I believed to be a racist rant that ended in me being called “the N-word,” I had a visceral reaction.

It was a surreal experience.

A black man I have known for many years introduced me to this white man. When I stood to shake his hand, the white man said, “What’s up n—a?”

Caught completely off-guard, I reacted. “What the (expletive) did you just say to me?”

He didn’t flinch. Instead, he put his hand over his mouth and said, “I guess I can’t joke around here.”

Disclosure: I am an open book. I try as much as possible to use these experiences to create change. But, it is with this same openness that I will share that my change fuel ran low. I cursed him out. My normal filter was unleashed.

Curiously, releasing my venom didn’t faze him. He would talk to me most of the evening. It ruined my night and my weekend.

Permission Granted

Afterward, I kept asking myself why I was so offended. I deal with this kind of social disorder for a living. People say off-kilter things to me all the time that most people would find offensive. My training and my book are steeped in granting people permission to feel and say whatever is needed to help them confront and work through thorny feelings, and I encourage people to say what they want to say without worrying about being politically correct.


But, “a lesson bought is a lesson taught.” Through this experience, I learned two things about myself—one, when I go into a training, I am dressed in my invisible suit of armor that is ready to deflect any offensive words that fly my way. My mindset is primed for me to be able to leave those words in that room. That night, I didn’t have my superhero suit on. And two—this was a white man.

Fast forward two days. With the help of friends, I was able to get a message to him that I wanted to meet. He called me within 20 minutes and we set a time for that day. I had no expectations for this meeting except to try to understand if he was racist or whether he truly thought this was the way to connect with me. Upon sight, I could tell he was nervous, even remorseful, and I was still angry.

His explanation didn’t make me feel better because hard-partying granted him an excuse for memory loss. He didn’t remember anything about the night. I reminded him and gathered that he used the n-word regularly. He admitted that he uses it with a close group of black friends, who don’t seem to mind. The bad news for him was that I wasn’t his friend and I minded immensely. He further explained that the first time he said it around his friends, he was nervous but since no one objected, he kept using it. My questions to him were: why did you want to use the word? Why was that so important? His answer to me was, “I wanted to belong.” His response fired all cylinders for me.

To say I was pissed off would be an understatement. This level of anger caused me to search within myself and my values, which led me to discover my own complacency. After I calmed down, I questioned why I was so mad and most importantly, would I have been as angry if a black man walked up to me and said the same thing. I can answer that question easily, “no.” I may have been taken aback somewhat because it’s not a usual greeting for strangers, even if we are both black. But, I would have known immediately, that he meant it as a term of endearment or a point of connection. I would not have had a visceral reaction to it. This double standard is a part of the larger problem.

Using the N-Word

Do not misunderstand me. By saying my feelings are a double standard, I am not letting this guy or anyone else off the hook, including myself because I have used the word as well. I am simply saying the history, blood, and death attached to the word dictates that the word should die from everyone’s vocabulary. The word doesn’t only belong to the ignorant, outright racist. My perpetrator is somewhat known in our community. He is professional and educated. I expected more when I learned more about him. This experience, along with many conversations, including with a group of eighth-graders, has challenged me to expect more from everyone. No matter how you feel about it, when white people say it, it feels racist and extremely offensive. When black people say it, it comes off as shared camaraderie or connection between friends. Black people need to understand the word devalues our humanity and diminishes the experiences of our ancestors, while white people need to understand the word demeans our humanity and perpetuates racism.

He asked for my forgiveness and I felt it was sincere, so I forgave him. As we grasp onto hope, mine is that we will continue to extend grace, seek out understanding through civil discourse, and be change agents.

The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.




Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

Career | Black Enterprise


Join Us at Black Men XCEL To Honor Jesse Jackson, Our Champion For Equal Opportunity

Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson has been among the powerful influencers in my life for some 40 years. I remember as a high school junior in Norfolk, Virginia, attending an assembly in a jam-packed arena with thousands of other students listening to his inspirational message, which urged us to stay drug-free and focused on academic achievement.

Using a series of rhyming maxims— “If my mind can conceive it, my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it!”…”Down with dope, up with hope!”—the founder and president of the Rainbow Push Coalition closed that speech with a call and response that brought us to our feet, loudly declaring in unison: “I am somebody!”

A decade or so later, as a BLACK ENTERPRISE editor, I would be among those who covered his historic run for the White House in 1988—his first foray into presidential politics was during the 1984 race—in which Jackson came in second in the Democratic primaries with over 1,200 delegates, more than any runner-up in history at that time. He leveraged that position at the Democratic National Convention to rework the rules for selecting a Democratic Party nominee, making the process more equitable and inclusive.

Jesse Jackson as the ‘Conscience of the Nation’ 

In recent years, I have had the privilege to participate in and work closely with his team on The Wall Street Project Economic Summit, which has served as a major catalyst in the diversification of capital markets for more than 20 years. In fact, WSP has resulted in black-owned investment banks and asset managers gaining significant bond and equity underwriting and money management assignments, respectively, from corporate America.

Those represent but a few milestones that have left me, along with millions of others, forever transformed by his decades of fearless, visionary leadership.

Regardless of age, gender, or generation, Jackson undoubtedly has played a huge role in uplifting the lives of people of color, the working class and the disenfranchised. As such, he has been our unyielding champion for equal opportunity over five decades, fiercely fighting for parity in issues ranging from civil and voting rights to workforce and business diversity in Silicon Valley. Due to this relentless drive for African American economic advancement and political empowerment, it is fitting that he will receive the Earl G. Graves Sr. Vanguard Award at our Black Men XCEL Summit held at the JW Marriott Turnberry Miami Resort and Spa Aug. 28–Sept. 1. BE Founder and Publisher Graves says of the civil rights icon: “He has been vital in articulating the concerns, needs, and aspirations of black Americans from every corner of this country. He addresses himself to the legacy of our past struggles for civil rights and embodies much of our hopes for a future in which equal opportunity for all Americans is woven into the fabric of our society.”

The accomplishments of the man known as the “Conscience of the Nation” confirms that assertion. A testament to the breadth and depth of his works can best be expressed by two of the greatest honors he has received. In 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to Jackson; and, in 2013, the South African government bestowed upon him their highest civilian honor, the National Order, the Companions of OR Tambo. Also called the “Great Unifier,” he has challenged America to be inclusive and establish just and humane priorities for the benefit of all. He has brought people together on common ground across lines of race, faith, gender, culture, and class.

Born in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1941, the North Carolina A&T State University graduate who began his activism as a student deferred completion of his Master’s degree to work full-time for the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King as an organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and later director of Operation Breadbasket program. Ordained in 1968—the year in which King was slain by an assassin’s bullet—Jackson carried forward the equal rights agenda with the development of Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) in Chicago in 1971 to expand educational, business, and employment opportunities for the disadvantaged and people of color. In 1984, the year he made his first run for the White House, Jackson launched the National Rainbow Coalition, a social justice organization based in Washington, D.C devoted to political empowerment, education, and changing public policy. By 1996, the Rainbow Coalition and Operation PUSH merged to form the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to continue the work of both organizations and to maximize resources.

Jesse Jackson


The ‘Shadow Senator’ 

Throughout the years, Jackson became an international figure who took on national healthcare, a war on drugs, peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, ending apartheid in South Africa, and installing democratic practices in Haiti, among other issues. His two presidential campaigns collectively registered more than 3 million voters, becoming a powerful force in a series of national, state, and local contests. In 1991, he would gain election as the “shadow senator” of Washington, D.C., advocating for statehood for the nation’s capital and promoting the “rainbow” agenda. Moreover, he was appointed by President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as “Special Envoy of the President and Secretary of State for the Promotion of Democracy in Africa.” In this official position, Jackson traveled to several countries on the African continent and met with such national leaders as President Nelson Mandela of the Republic of South Africa.

In addition to his other global campaigns for human rights and equity, he was on the front lines in the development of “reciprocal trade” between African Americans and corporate America. Jackson, who effectively used boycotts against major corporations to open doors for minorities, employed a different strategy to diversify the financial and tech sectors. For example, he acquired shares of publicly traded companies to press them as a shareholder to hire minority firms. Ariel Investments co-CEO and founder John Rogers, a major supporter of his initiatives, maintained that Jackson’s approach gave him access to attend annual meetings, and speak with corporate directors and CEOs as a means to “highlight the successful partnership between minority and majority companies.”

His Contribution to Black-Owned Businesses

Through it all, the impact of Rev. Jackson’s WSP has been palpable. Top-ranked black financial firms were tapped for the largest transactions on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley. For instance, these companies were involved in the industry-transforming initial public offerings of Goldman Sachs in 1999; Prudential Financial in 2001; Google in 2004; New York Stock Exchange in 2006; Visa in 2008; General Motors in 2010; Facebook in 2012 and Snap Inc. in 2017, just to name a few milestone transactions.

And Jackson continues to fight. During last year’s Economic Summit, he recounted African Americans’ tumultuous history and the need to continue our focus on multigenerational wealth building.

“African Americans have journeyed through four stages of a 400-year struggle. Stage one—ending slavery after 246 years in bondage; Stage two—ending the Jim Crow era with its mass lynchings and terror campaigns; Stage three—securing the right to vote; and currently, Stage four—securing access to capital, industry, technology, and deal flow in the U.S. economy,” he told attendees. “We are in the early days of stage four. We have freedom in our lives, but we don’t have equality. There are some steps the African American community can take to move closer to gaining equality and the fruits that will come with the successful navigation of stage four of the struggle. It’s the simplest way to begin building wealth. We must save money to invest in building a future. It’s time to consolidate that earning power for the welfare of the community.”

Let’s come together at BMX to salute him as well as commit to joining him in the next leg of our ongoing battle for economic parity.

Register now for Black Men XCEL



Career | Black Enterprise


Black Women Less Likely to be Promoted, Receive Recognition for Accomplishments

A new study confirms the many workplace inequities of which professional black women are already familiar. The Women in the Workplace 2018 study published by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. shows how women, and particularly black women, face huge disadvantages at work.

The study touches on the pay gap between black woman and everyone else. Black women receive 39% less pay than white men and 21% less than white women. This pay disparity exists even if black women do the same work and have the same level of education as white men and women.

Moreover, many Americans are unaware that a pay gap exists. According to a separate LeanIn.Org/SurveyMonkey study out today, one-third of Americans do not know about the pay gap between black women and white men; half are unaware of a pay gap between black and white women

Pay equity is just one issue black women face in the office. The Women in the Workplace study also found:

  • Black women are less likely to be promoted. For every 100 men promoted at the management level, only 60 black women are promoted.
  • Black women have less access to a company’s senior leadership. 59% of black women in the workplace have never even had an interaction with someone at the senior level.
  • Black women receive less support from managers and also have less encouragement to achieve a work/life balance.
  • Black women are less likely to have their work accomplishments promoted by managers and are less likely to receive opportunities to showcase their work.

The Women in the Workplace study surveyed 64,000 employees. Also, 279 companies employing more than 13 million people shared their pipeline data and completed a survey of their HR practices.

“I would like a manager who respects and values my opinions, especially in my realm of expertise. I’d love to be asked, ‘What are your thoughts?’ Or, ‘We’re having this meeting. Can I pull you in on this?’ But that doesn’t happen,” reported one black woman in the study.

The report also includes case studies from companies trying to level the career playing field; these companies include Allstate, L’Oreal, Mozilla, P&G, and Hilton.

The study’s authors offer advice to businesses on breaking down barriers—often caused by inherent bias. Their advice:

  • Don’t ask job candidates about their current compensation, which can perpetuate pay disparities
  • Be transparent about the pay ranges for different roles so all employees know what to expect
  • Audit compensation data regularly to maintain fairness — and review the data by gender and race to ensure black women are being paid fairly
  • Employees involved in hiring and promotions should receive bias training to help them make more objective decisions (less than 20%  of companies require unconscious bias training for employees involved in hiring and promotions))
  • Ensure formal mentorship and sponsorship programs are opening doors for black women
  • Encourage informal interactions between black women and more senior colleagues — these types of personal connections can be more effective than formal programs and propel careers

Read the full Women in the Workplace 2018 report here.





Career | Black Enterprise


4 Reasons to Pursue a Side Hustle While You Are Young

No matter what your age, taking on a side hustle can be a smart move. Many retirees are turning to side hustles to make ends meet and fight the post-work world boredom. But a side hustle can be even more valuable for young people, and these extra jobs can provide a lasting impact on their lives. For the young, the value of a side hustle goes far beyond the extra cash, although a few additional dollars certainly does not hurt. Whether you are fresh out of college or still in high school, here are four significant benefits of a side hustle.

4 Reasons Young People Need a Side Hustle

Learn Valuable New Skills

Their high school and college days may be over, but young people are still learning valuable skills. From how to communicate effectively in the workplace to how to project a professional image, young people are continually learning and growing. Younger workers are also busy learning new skills, abilities that could help them move up the corporate ladder and land the next promotion. A side hustle can help those young workers learn new skills—skills they can use to enhance their full-time careers.

Pay Off Student Loan Debt Faster

It is no secret that student loan debt is out of control, or that many college graduates are having trouble paying what they owe. With the average student loan debt well into five figures, repayment can be a real problem, even for workers blessed with good-paying jobs. By taking on a side hustle while they are still young, those debt-ridden college graduates can get a head start on what they owe. Paying off that college loan debt can then free up cash for other essentials, like saving up for a first home or putting money aside for retirement.


Boost Savings

A troubling percentage of younger workers have no savings at all, and even more, have very little put away. Having an emergency fund is an absolute must, and something a side hustle can help with. Beyond the emergency fund, a side hustle can also help young people boost their retirement savings. The side hustle alone may not fully fund those goals, but it could be a big help.


Make Lasting Connections

Networking has never been more critical, but making lasting and meaningful connections can be particularly tough for young people. Even if they are continually meeting new people online and off, forging valuable relationships and building a network are challenging tasks. By incorporating a side hustle (or two) into their lives, those younger workers can expand their networks more effectively. You never know when those connections will come in handy, and having them available could help you land your next job or start your own business.

If you think side hustles are for retirees and cash-strapped seniors, you need to think again. No matter what your age, taking on a side hustle can provide valuable benefits, some of them monetary, some of them social, and all of them essential.

Career | Black Enterprise


These Executive Coaches Will Help You Advance Your Leadership Skills at the Black Men XCEL Summit

What element transforms executives into best-of-class leaders? In a word: coaching.

In every arena—from sports to business—peak performers achieve superior results because they’ve gained top-notch advisers to help them maximize skills and identify blind spots, among other areas. Having such guidance is especially important for African American men in business seeking to advance their goals and tackle complex management challenges in today’s increasingly fast-paced, chaotic environment.

In fact, a 2018 Harvard Business Review article in which black men shared what it was like to be “in the gender majority, not the racial minority” revealed that while black men were able to “capitalize on shared gendered experiences to bond with white men who can serve in important roles as allies, sponsors, and mentors, they described a sense of alienation and isolation on the job.” It further stated “that fitting in with white colleagues has its limits, and from the sense that only other black men can really understand the challenges associated with being black and male in these spaces—the persistent negative stereotyping, the complicated dance of managing interactions with white women to avoid appearing threatening, the need to avoid ever being perceived as the “angry black man.”

Due to such issues and more, BLACK ENTERPRISE developed a series of intensive leadership coaching sessions at our third annual Black Men XCEL Summit, being held at the J.W. Marriott Turnberry Resort & Spa from Aug. 28 – Sept. 1. These 25-minute, one-on-one only sessions are designed to help you achieve your personal and professional best while dealing with such landmines.

So what will our appointment-only consultations do for you? Given your professional situation and objectives, our coaches will undertake a Socratic approach to helping you recognize strengths and weaknesses, break you out of your “comfort zone” to develop more diverse relationships, deal with racial and gender scenarios, create processes to determine goals and desired outcomes, customize your leadership style and other matters.

So let’s meet some of the coaches we have assembled to help guide you to the next level:

Kevin Wayne Johnson

Founder, Chief Visionary and CEO, The Johnson Leadership Group L.L.C

Kevin Wayne Johnson

Kevin Wayne Johnson


Johnson believes “God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.” As such, developing individual and organizational operating excellence is his life’s ministry as he coaches people to live out their gifts. A renowned expert and author, he delivers training on the elements of dynamic relationships and equips teams with the attitudes and attributes needed to develop individuals into leaders. He’s an independent certified coach, teacher, and speaker with the nationally recognized John Maxwell Team. Johnson tailors learning experiences to “help maximize efficiency, growth, awareness, and effectiveness” and provides a step-by-step action plan to enable individuals to reach their aspirations as well as develop the leader within.

Randi Bryant

CEO, Bryant Consulting Group

leadership skills

Randi Bryant

Bryant is a diversity and inclusion strategist, author, speaker, and trainer that helps people and companies “navigate tough racial, gender, and cultural issues by equipping them with the right tools and resources to foster real, open dialogue.” Through her speeches, trainings, and one-on-one services she offers individuals the essential tools to engage in transparent conversations on racial, cultural, and diversity issues. This founder and president of a 17-year-old, award-winning change management firm has created the “Fingerprint to Blueprint” curriculum and guided major corporate and government clients in seven countries and 41 states.

Ron Harvey

Vice President, Global Core Strategies and Consulting

career coaching

Ron Harvey

With more than 25 years of combined experience in human resources management, training development, and executive coaching, Harvey has enabled leaders and organizations to “be intentional about identifying and reaching their full potential.” He specializes in building professionals’ capacity to lead under pressure and connect with diverse workforces. As such, he works with clients to gain more self-awareness related to their strengths and leadership styles. Currently serving as president for his local chapter of Association of Talent Development, this certified coach makes use of the skills and insights gained from the Georgetown University International Transformational Leadership Training Program so his clients “go forward faster using less fuel.”

Dr. Latanya Hughes

Resource Global Mentor Coach

executive coach

Latanya Hughes

Hughes is considered an authority in global business dynamics with proven results that eliminates the words: “It can’t be done!” She has delivered “mission-critical results driven by an innate need to strategize and innovate” and developed a consistent track record of helping managers advance growth, revenue, operational performance, and profitability. Her secret weapon: Directing cross-functional teams to apply interactive and motivational leadership that fosters trust and spurs people to willingly exceed their maximum effort.


Join us at the Black Men XCEL Summit as we honor the essence of today’s man of color.  



Career | Black Enterprise


The Push to Get More Black People Working in Cybersecurity

While much of the focus about the future job landscape is negative—jobs being lost to automation and robotics—there is one industry that is projected to have astounding career opportunities: cybersecurity. One organization is focused on getting more black people working in the cybersecurity field.

The Thought Leadership and Innovation Foundation (TLI) has launched a new program targeting historically black colleges and universities, as well as minority-serving institutions—the Risk Management and Cybersecurity Training Program.

TLI describes the program in a statement on its website:

We developed a training program to promote risk management education and economic empowerment for students of HBCUs and MSIs and to reduce financial losses at MSIs through rigorous risk management practices. In our ever-changing modern world, a vibrant risk management framework is a natural foundation of cybersecurity readiness and compliance.

The program’s goal is to create a pipeline to cybersecurity careers via training and internships.

Risk management is the “process of identifying, assessing, and responding to risk” applied to technology threats, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. Solid risk management policies help thwart security breaches, hacking, data theft, and other cybercrime.

Cybersecurity jobs are expected to rise 28% by 2026. Currently, there is a critical lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals. Industry analysts say there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021. There is so much attention placed on coding and software development, particularly for black computer science students, that cybersecurity options often fall to the wayside.

Yet, cybersecurity is a well-paying field. reports that the average cybersecurity salary is $ 75,850.

The shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals has even pushed politicians to sound the alarm. Back in 2016, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), while speaking at an event hosted by the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMP), said: “There is currently a shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals in the United States, which is predicted to grow to 1.5 million by 2019. There exists an opportunity to address both the cybersecurity workforce shortage and the underrepresentation of minority groups in the technology industry.”

In 2015, the Obama administration announced a $ 25 million grant from the Department of Energy to select HBCUs to improve cybersecurity education.

To find out more about TLI’s Risk Management and Cybersecurity Training Program visit the organization’s website.



Career | Black Enterprise


Cardi B Publicist Patientce Foster Shares What It Takes To Succeed In Entertainment

Cardi B has made it clear that she doesn’t need more press–-and it’s in large part due to her amazing publicity team at The Cream Agency, headed by Patientce Foster.

Foster plays multiple roles for Cardi, which includes being her independent publicist. She shared, “We work very closely with Ashley Kalmanowitz, our label publicist, who has done an amazing, consistent job in bringing an immense amount of press opportunities to the table. I am also head of her brand partnerships, and day-to-day operations. [Cardi] has honestly allowed me to be a part of almost every conversation pertaining to her career, including creative, her music, her vision, her ambitions.”

Behind the Scenes of Celebrity Publicity

While onlookers get to appreciate the beautiful glossy images, energetic performances, and humorous interviews Cardi B dishes, each of these requires lots of preparation. Foster shared that the most challenging part of the job is having to work under a constant pressure that never seems to let up. You must make yourself available for everyone else while still trying to be emotionally available for yourself.

“It’s easy to lose yourself and your mind while trying to keep up with the demands and obligations of the job,” she says with a laugh.


The industry has its perks too. Foster loves being able to work with kind-hearted people with brilliant minds and genuine souls. Noting, “The best part of my job is having a voice, being able to be vocal about what we’re doing, where we’re going, how to evolve and remain consistent.”

Getting into the Industry

Foster recommends that anyone interested in pursuing this career look to build in every direction that could align with their end goal.

“Don’t be so specific in your direction that you turn down opportunities that will help you to build a Rolodex or increase your experiences. Place yourself in rooms that will help you to build contacts. Place yourself at tables that will open your ears to conversation and educate you. Become so well-versed in the industry so that when your time does come you’re equipped with education, contacts, and networks. Those elements are essentially what the person/brand hiring you wants–your reach and your experience.”

Rubbing Shoulders with Celebrities

Rubbing shoulders with celebs is a dream for many, but there are unspoken rules. Foster advises that your approach and intent are everything. “Some people want to rub a shoulder for a photo opp, rub a shoulder to be able to post on social media and caption the moment as if they are acquainted with the celeb and use the visual for their own leverage. My pet peeve would be how the approach is made. Complimenting a celeb, asking them to possibly look at their art, listen to their music or [ask] for a photo is always OK, but how it’s done is what bothers me. The sense of false entitlement is what bothers me.”

Patientce Foster’s Journey to Becoming Cardi B’s Publicist

While Foster cannot forget her Southern roots being born in Charlotte, North Carolina, she credits her upbringing to Wilmington, Delaware, where she moved at the tender age of 7.

“The city of Wilmington has played a major role in my development as a person and as a professional. The fact that Delaware is the second-smallest state, makes Wilmington even smaller. There’s no radio station, sports team, little to no representation. We are often overlooked. It takes a certain consistency, determination, and tenacity to be visible, to be seen, to be recognized. It’s easy to feel defeated when you’re counted out, or always coming in last. Wilmington lent me a fearless mind, a tough skin, and a confidence I wouldn’t have been able to get from anywhere else.”

Leaving her job at Hertz to start a full-service salon is what led her to Cardi. Foster’s pivots may seem haphazard to some, but she had a clear vision.

“I left Hertz to open a full-service salon in 2013, Vixated. Vixated was able to fuel my ambitions and my journey to being a publicist by allowing me freedom, time, and funds to travel and take unpaid opportunities to build my resume and experience. It was in my second year of business (2015) that I was introduced to Cardi by a friend at the time, and now my partner. She needed hair and beauty services and my Wilmington salon location provided that. God made it so that we met again a month later during a Fashion Week PR internship, and it was then that I was hired. I went from working in Hertz, to building a business that paved the way to a career in publicity.”

On top of being a ‘small town girl’ who took a leap of faith to start her own business, Foster is also a single mother. This responsibility helped to mold her in a massive way,

“Being a single mother is a responsibility like no other. You can’t go out and a build a team to assist you, or ask just anyone to help you, or expect anyone to love and care for your child the way you do. That baby is yours, and yours only, your responsibility and forever obligation. Nothing is about you anymore, everything is about your baby. Every decision you make is for that baby. Every goal you make and plan you execute has one end goal, that baby, and the baby’s future.

“That mindset has become the fuel that burns my fire, it has become the motivation and intent behind every decision I make. It has made me a more aware woman, a more direct woman, a more assertive woman. There’s no time for question, doubt, or error. I have become a more decisive woman. I have to go get what I want, and ask for what I want, and make what I want happen–not for me anymore, but for the future, and well-being of my child.”

Millennials Changing the Game

Foster, a Millennial herself, does not buy into the dialog that Millennials are lazy and entitled.

“I believe that we are in a new era of new approach. How the generation before us achieved success, and the paths they took has changed. Times have changed.

“I believe that this generation is innovative, fearless, doesn’t hear the word ‘no’ [and] will make something out of nothing. This generation has been revolutionary. We have single-handedly changed the world as they once knew it. This generation has changed the digital age, how we listen to music, how we purchase items, how we socialize, how we look for and obtain jobs. This generation has given the power to individuals in becoming whatever they want to be.

The Cream Agency

Foster is so grateful in what she has been able to accomplish. “[I’m] so humbled to be a part of one of the greatest, most consistent teams in the game. My contributions, my work, and my results have allowed me to build one of the fastest-growing PR and creative marketing/branding boutique agencies in the business. The Cream Agency has only begun to make its mark. The impression we make will be one that will last to the end of time. I’m standing on that!”

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 



Career | Black Enterprise


New NCAA ‘Rich Paul’ Rule Disempowers Black Athletes and Rigs Rules In Favor Of Elite Agencies

Black professional athletes have leveraged more control over their careers, staff, political activities, and personal brands this last decade than perhaps ever before. That is why the NCAA’s reformed agent criteria—dubbed the “Rich Paul Rule”—is an especially heinous attempt to disempower athletes, create barriers to entry for black agents, and promote an ‘old boys’ discriminatory agent culture. The new NCAA rule announced Tuesday requires agents to obtain a bachelor’s degree, have three years certification in the National Basketball Players Association, procure professional liability insurance, and pass a certification exam administered once a year in Indianapolis, Indiana. The new rule has been slammed by professional athletes and would exclude Rich Paul, a Cleveland, Ohio, outsider most known for guiding LeBron James’ famous “Decision” and later return to Ohio, from doing any new business with future draftees.

Make no mistake, this rule is specifically designed to end Rich Paul’s business and legacy and prevent future outsiders from spoiling profit for a limited, elite group of agents. Paul first met LeBron James in an airport when his day job mostly consisted of selling jerseys out of his trunk. The two built a mutually trusting relationship and Paul ultimately became LeBron’s agent to the dismay of several industry insiders. Paul formed Klutch Sports and grew his enterprise from securing $ 20M contracts in 2013 to a cumulative $ 625M in 2019, subsequently ranking him in the top three in total client wages. This is especially impressive in a world where not one black agent leads any of the top 10 sports agencies.

Lebron James

LeBron James (Instagram/KingJames)

While a college degree is an important individual milestone and a rightful prerequisite for many jobs, several careers in the future economy —like coding—do not require a bachelor’s degree. Google and Apple, for instance, declared applicants need not have a bachelor’s degree to compete for jobs. Further, neither Steve Jobs nor Mark Zuckerberg earned degrees and became two of the most transformative innovators in tech history.

So why then would the NCAA institute such a restrictive rule when the new economy is going in a different direction?

The new agent criteria suggest the NCAA wishes to preserve its own interests and buffer the pockets of a select few, while simultaneously limiting professional athletes’ ability to exert significant influence over their own economic and brand outcomes. Athletes are increasingly aware of this conflict, as evidenced by the 2011 player lockout when the NBA worked to extinguish collective bargaining and player demands for revenue sharing. That is exactly why some minority professional athletes look to agents like Paul who unapologetically states that his job is to “do what’s best for my client.”

Doing what’s best for the client has not always been the modus operandi of the sports world.

Historically, professional sports organizations have exhausted black athletic talent and denied them access to front office positions, as detailed by William C. Roden in his seminal $ 40 Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Black Athletes (2006). Moreover, labor economists Lawrence Kahn and Peter Sher found black NBA players earned 20% less than white athletes in the 1980s. This decade alone, over 60% of NBA athletes go broke within five years of retirement. The history and data show the agency industry and NCAA has done little to protect the long-term interests of players, despite claims the bachelor’s degree requirement will increase integrity and professionalism.

Rising displays of black player agency, from LeBron’s “Decision” to Colin Kaepernick’s kneel, signal a turning point in the way black athletes view their power, influence, and economic capability. It only makes sense the old guard would work aggressively to limit any disruption to its status quo. Professional athletes and those who find inspiration, hope, and entertainment from these players have to raise their voices and organize in opposition, even if it means some temporary sacrifice. As Frederick Douglass said, “power concedes nothing without a demand,” and this power must be shared equally and with equity.

The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Ariel Investments Appoints Noted Black Business Executive to Its Board

On the heels of announcing Mellody Hobson as its new new co-CEO and president, Ariel Investments has added yet another black business titan to its team. Leslie “Les” Brun has been appointed to the company’s board of directors.

“Les Brun brings a wealth of expertise and leadership from more than 40 years of investment banking, commercial banking and financial advisory experience,” said Hobson via a press release. “We are confident Ariel will benefit greatly from his background and track record of growing successful companies.” If you are a follower of the business world, Brun should be a known name. Brun has over 40 years’ experience in the financial sector. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Sarr Group, L.L.C., an investment holding company.

Brun sits on the boards of CDK Global; Merck (where he serves as lead director); Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc; and Corning. Previously, he was chairman of the board at ADP.

Other prestigious positions he’s held include: member of the Council on Foreign Relations; chairman of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s S.B.I.C. Advisory Council; trustee for the University at Buffalo Foundation; among others.

“As someone who has received recognition as one of America’s top 100 Corporate Directors by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), Les will help Ariel further elevate our overall standard of excellence in governance. He will be a tremendous asset to our board and we look forward to his future contributions,” stated John W. Rogers Jr., chairman, co-CEO, and chief investment officer at Ariel.

Ariel Investments, founded by Rogers in 1983, is No. 1 on Black Enterprise’s “BE100s”–its annual list of the nation’s largest black businesses in the “asset manager” category. It was the first black money management firm to launch a family of mutual funds, and achieved an investment milestone when 17 major corporations selected its mutual funds for their 401(k) plans. The firm currently has about $ 13 billion assets under management.


Career | Black Enterprise


Meet Nissan’s New Diversity Leader

Rodney Francis has been named Nissan’s new director of diversity and inclusion. Francis has been with the automotive company since 2013 as a Human Resources senior manager at Nissan’s vehicle assembly plant in Mississippi.

The incoming director replaces retiring diversity chief Jeffrey Webster. Webster started with Nissan in 1985 as a production technician at the company’s Smyrna, Georgia, plant. He moved into Human Resources in 1989 and then was promoted to lead diversity and inclusion initiatives in 2014 at the Canton, Mississippi plant.


Jeffrey Webster

Under Webster’s leadership, Nissan was named by DiversityInc as a “Top 25 Noteworthy Companies” list for six straight years.



As the new diversity head, Francis will focus on recruiting, developing, and retaining top talent, and strategic programs fostering diversity and inclusion, according to a press release.

“With Rodney’s strong business acumen and people-centric skills, he will further solidify Nissan’s commitment to diversity in every aspect of our business,” said Michelle Baron, vice president, Human Resources, Nissan North America Inc. via a press release.

Baron also praised the retiring Webster. “Jeffrey has had a storied career focused on people, and he has built a reputation for his unwavering commitment to Nissan’s diversity initiatives,” she offered in a statement. “Among his many contributions, Jeffrey led the expansion of our employee affinity groups and has cultivated lasting relationships with key civic and business leaders and organizations.”

Francis will be based out of Tennessee in his new role. He holds a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in business administration from Delta State University.


Career | Black Enterprise


Former BET CEO Debra Lee Is Now on AT&T’s Board of Directors

AT&T has added former BET Networks head Debra Lee to its board of directors.

“Debra’s outstanding leadership, deep expertise and strong track record in the entertainment and media industry will be terrific additions to our board of directors,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “Her unique perspective as a media industry leader and operations executive, and her lifetime commitment to community service give her valuable insights I look forward to having on our board.”

As chairwoman and CEO of Viacom’s BET Networks, Lee increased the network’s budget by 50% and incorporated fresh, relevant programming into the network. She also developed CENTRIC as yet another outlet for African American movies, shows, and music.

She received the Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership from the National Cable Television Association, making her the first African American female executive to be bestowed with the honor. Other accolades include being named to The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment and Billboard’s Power 100 and is the only woman to be recognized by the GRAMMY Organization with its Salute to Industry Icons Award.

Lee has served on the boards of Twitter, Marriott International Inc., and is on the board of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

She appeared on Black Enterprise’s Most Powerful Women in Business roster in 2017; Lee helped drive growth, ratings, and loyalty with African American audiences. Under her leadership, BET prioritized original programming like The Game, Being Mary Jane, and The New Edition Story. She also focused on live events and award shows like the Hip-Hop Awards, BET Experience, and The BET Awards.

She stepped down from BET in 2018 and issued the following statement:

“I have spent more than 20 years leading this incredible enterprise and I am so proud of the BET team and all that we have accomplished. As I look to the future, I believe it is the right time to take a step back from day-to-day responsibilities at BET.”

Prior to embarking on an accelerated media career, Lee earned a master’s degree in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and a Juris Doctorate at Harvard Law School.




Career | Black Enterprise


Conquering Fears About Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

I have trained thousands of people throughout the United States, South America, and the United Kingdom; had personal conversations and conducted in-depth interviews about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Two simple but extremely complex words are at the core of all of my diversity and inclusion conversations: loss and fear

If you think about the riot in Charlottesville, Virginia,—it was about fear as white supremacists yelled, “you will not replace us.” And in our local communities, we are tired of the constant fight around loss. Loss of economic development, healthy food, and access to healthcare.

I see it constantly as companies put strategies in place to hire a skilled, diverse workforce. Here is a recent conversation that I have had countless times.

Me: What do you think of the company’s goal to hire more diverse employees?

Employee: It feels like a quota system to me and my team.

Me: How so?

Employee: My team feels like white men are going to either lose their jobs or won’t be hired because of diversity.

Me: But you know that’s not true. No one will be hired or fired based upon their diversity. I think the company has done a great job of explaining their strategy to attain this goal. Why do you think your team chooses to see it different?

Employee: Here’s the deal. If a white guy, and say, a black woman are applying for the same position and everything is equal as far as work experience, skill sets, background and that all stuff—the position will now go to the black woman because of a diversity quota. It’s hard to compete with that.

Me: Now, let me ask you a tough question and it’s going to make you a little uncomfortable but that’s why we are here. This has happened repeatedly to people of color more times than we will ever be able to count. Furthermore, you can count the people of color in this office on one hand. We also both know that, overwhelmingly, positions have gone to white males in most instances throughout history. Have you or your team had any concerns about that?

Employee: I understand where you are coming from, but I guess what I’m saying is that we want fairness in the process.

Leveling the playing field

Diverse individuals, even those with degrees, are often not hired. What diverse people want is a level playing field, so they can compete. The employee mentioned above and I discussed that neither he or his team are responsible for the years of inequity experienced by people of color (or those that fall into an underrepresented category) but that they can be allies and help us dismantle those systems. Furthermore, as white men, they can help to put processes in place for change. We must get away from the thought (and practice) that the white male has no place in conversations about diversity and inclusion.

It affects everyone and we all must be engaged. Why? Because we are all driven by fear. People of color, LGBT people, and women fear being treated unequally and being continually marginalized. White people, especially men, fear living in a society where they are no longer the majority and what that will mean for their families both personally and professionally. Millennials fear their ideas are not being respected because of their age while older people fear not being relevant in our technology-driven world.

Ultimately, we are all scared of a system that treats us unfairly and processes that leave us unable to make a decent income, live in affordable housing, or give us access to healthcare and healthy food. We have the same fears and because I know this, I know the ‘us versus them’ dynamic continues to hold us back.

How do we fix it? Stop being scared! The heart of the matter is, unsurprisingly, showing heart. We confront our issues with unconditional love. Not the touchy-feely kind, but the total acceptance of humanity kind. Get in where you fit in because we ALL do.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.


Career | Black Enterprise


An Honest Conversation About Race in the Workplace

Dealing with issues related to race in the workplace is a challenge for many professionals of color. Nearly every black woman in the workforce can attest to undergoing some form of racism, whether overt or covert, at the hands of a client, customer, colleague, or manager. Sometimes it’s in the form of a microaggression while, at other times, sisters are passed over for a deserved promotion or bonus without a reasonable explanation. It’s also the root cause of many of the unnecessary obstacles and hurdles that women of color face on the job but, somehow, it makes us stronger.

Race in the Workplace

(from L-R) Aisha Thomas-Petit, Carolynn Johnson, Sarah Eames, and Valerie Rainford (Black Enterprise)

At the 2019 Women of Power Summit, an annual leadership conference designed for professional women of color, four corporate leaders held an open dialogue on the issues shaping race relations within companies and shared strategies for successfully navigating race for women at every level of their organizations. The conversation also focused on forming intentional relationships with allies in the workplace. Meanwhile, Sarah Eames, a partner at Healthcare CEO and Healthcare Services Practice Leader, Russell Reynolds Associates, talked about being an ally to help people of color advance in their careers.

Here are a few of the gems that the speakers shared during the session, titled “Intersectionality: An Honest Conversation About Race in the Workplace.”

Race in the Workplace

Valerie Rainford (Black Enterprise)

Valerie Rainford

Managing Director; Head of Advancing Black Leaders & Diversity Advancement Strategies, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • “It’s very uncomfortable to talk about race.”
  • “Sometimes we don’t know our own power to change a culture…[and] our own ability to slay.”
  • “Angry doesn’t work everywhere, but passion does…know your culture.”
  • “When I had that epiphany—that there is nobody who walks, talks, and thinks like Valerie Rainford—that became my competitive advantage.”

Carolynn Johnson

Carolynn Johnson (Black Enterprise)

Carolynn Johnson

COO, DiversityInc.

  • “I am an angry black woman. I’m owning it [so that] you won’t shame me by saying it.”
  • “Power is not taken. Power is given.”
  • “I didn’t realize that I was in a box until I was gently uplifted out of it.”
  • “I was ready to give up.”
  • “Allies aren’t just white men or people who have more power than you.”
  • In order to get over our fear and our shame, we have to understand the other side of racial fatigue.


Aisha Thomas-Petit (Black Enterprise)

Aisha Thomas-Petit

Division Vice President, HR, ADP
  • In order to create an ally, you actually have to have a deeper relationship in order to do so.


  • Look at your networks: are they diverse and inclusive?


  • Being a woman and black “is actually a double blessing.”



Career | Black Enterprise


Black Woman Yale Grad Is New Acting President of Planned Parenthood

Alexis McGill Johnson has just been named the new Acting President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and Acting President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF), according to a press release from Planned Parenthood.

McGill Johnson’s appointment comes after the Planned Parenthood board of directors ousted Dr. Leana Wen as the organization’s leader. Several reports cite that Wen was forced out after disputes over the direction the organization should take in its advocacy for reproductive rights.


As a former member of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund board, and former chair and member of the board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, McGill Johnson’s career has focused on philanthropy and service.

She was a co-founder and co-director of the Perception Institute—described on its website as “a national consortium of researchers, advocates, and cultural strategists that turns cutting-edge mind science research on identity difference into solutions that can be applied to everyday individual interactions and institutional practices.”

McGill Johnson holds degrees from Princeton and Yale. She also taught Political Science and African American studies at Yale and Wesleyan. In 2004 she served as Russell Simmons’s political director and headed up a grassroots nonprofit founded by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs.


“Alexis is a renowned social justice leader, lifelong political organizer, and a tireless advocate for reproductive rights and access to quality, affordable healthcare,” PPFA board Chair Aimee Cunningham and PPAF Board Chair Jennie Rosenthal issued in a statement.

“We look forward to working with Alexis McGill Johnson to build on Planned Parenthood’s great legacy as a trusted healthcare provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world,” the statement continued.

McGill Johnson also released a statement about her new appointment, “I am proud to step in to serve as Acting President and facilitate a smooth leadership transition in this critical moment for Planned Parenthood and the patients and communities we serve. I thank Dr. Wen for her service and her commitment to patients. I look forward to getting to work alongside the incredible team at Planned Parenthood who work every single day to help people access high-quality reproductive healthcare.”


Career | Black Enterprise


17 Career Books for Black Women to Help Them Level Up Professionally

We are halfway through the calendar year…and if you’re anything like us, you are already planning for 2020. As you aspire to level up financially and professionally—we’ve put together a list of career propelling books for black women written by black women. Whether you’re trying to find more balance in your life, explore your purpose, combat bias in the workplace, or work your way to the C-suite—this list is for you. After all, the best way to prepare for your future is to plan for it.

Each of these authors has the experience of navigating the world and the workplace as black women who have had to get to the core of who they are in order to experience success as defined by themselves.

If you are ready to begin a new chapter in your career and life, take a look at these reads!

17 Career Books for Black Women

1. What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Organized by theme—joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power—these essays offer a rare and powerful glimpse into the mind one of the world’s most extraordinary women. Candid, moving, exhilarating, uplifting, and dynamic, the words Oprah shares in What I Know for Sure shimmer with the sort of wisdom and truth that listeners will turn to again and again.

Career Books for Black Women


2. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

In Year of YesShonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life—and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.

Career Books for Black Women


3. The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood, Rhonda Joy McLean

Each chapter in the WORKBOOK correlates to a chapter in THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF SUCCESS and contains a number of questions and quizzes to help you tailor each lesson to your individual needs.

Career Books for Black Women


4. Strategize to WIN: The New Way to Start out, Step up, or Start Over in Your Career by Carla Harris

In Strategize to Win, Carla Harris gives listeners the tools they need to get started; get “unstuck” from bad situations, redirect momentum, and position themselves to manage their careers no matter the environment.

Career Books for Black Women


5. Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace by Carla Harris

While climbing the corporate ladder, Harris had her own personal missteps and celebrated numerous victories. She vowed that when she reached senior management, and people came to her for advice, she would provide them with the tools and strategies honed by her experience.

Career Books for Black Women


6. Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward by Valarie Jarrett

Jarrett shares her forthright, optimistic perspective on the importance of leadership and the responsibilities of citizenship in the 21st century, inspiring listeners to lift their own voices.

Career Books for Black Women


7. Double Down: Bet on Yourself and Success on Your Terms by Antoinette M. Clarke and Tricia Clarke-Stone

If you’re tired of getting second-class rewards for first-class work and you’re ready to be respected for who you are, Double Down will give you the tools and tactics to go all-in on your dreams.

Career Books for Black Women


8. The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose by Oprah Winfrey

Oprah shares what she sees as a guide for activating your deepest vision of yourself, offering the framework for creating not just a life of success, but one of significance.

Career Books for Black Women


9. More Than Pretty: Doing The Soul Work That Uncovers Your True Beauty by Erica Campbell

This book explores issues of self-esteem, identity, and God’s design for love and intimacy. She is candid about her own struggles, sharing honestly about her battle to feel “good enough” in an industry that fixates on outward appearances.

Career Books for Black Women


10. Believe Bigger by Marshawn Evans Daniels

Believe Bigger is about resilience, reclaiming your life, and how God uses rejection, hardship, and unexpected circumstances to awaken something greater within…if you’re willing to embrace disruption. You’ll see her go from heartbroken and hitting rock bottom financially to building a multimillion-dollar faith-centered enterprise and finding something super sweet along the way.

Career Books for Black Women


11. More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth

Welteroth moves beyond the headlines and highlight reels to share the profound lessons and struggles of being a barrier-breaker across so many intersections.

Career Books for Black Women


12. Swimming with Sharks in Dark Waters by Athene Brinson

This book is designed to help you identify, and cope, and achieve success in those corporate environments that are not well.

Career Books for Black Women


13. FutureProofed: How to Navigate Disruptive Change, Find Calm in Chaos, and Succeed in Work & Life by Natalia Peart

Drawing from her own research and consulting practice and the latest in business, neuroscience, psychology, and design thinking, Dr. Natalia Peart presents a new paradigm and step-by-step pathway for thriving in fast-moving times.

Career Books for Black Women


14. It’s About Time: The Art of Choosing by Valorie Burton

It’s About Time helps you re-imagine a life that is meaningful—at a pace that is natural—with a load that is doable and equips you with the tools to make it happen.

Career Books for Black Women


15. Own Your Phenomenal Self by Rita P. Mitchell

No matter your background, experience, education, or credentials, you can have what you want out of life, and you can have it on your terms.

Career Books for Black Women


16. Werk 101 by Koereyelle DuBose

WERK 101: Get-Your-Life-Together Guide” is the ultimate handbook sharing health, wealth, and lifestyle lessons for the modern-day woman.

Career Books for Black Women


17. Boss Bride by Charreah K. Jackson

This book is a bridge to create a love life and career that fulfills you: it’s time to go hard or go home.

Career Books for Black Women


Career | Black Enterprise


Dove Joins Effort to Ban Discrimination Against Natural Black Hairstyles in the Workplace

Hair bias in the workplace is an issue that black people know too well. A recent study by Dove reveals that black women are 80% more likely to change their natural hair in order to meet social norms or expectations at work. On the other hand, many who don’t conform to Eurocentric standards are often penalized. According to the survey, black women are 50% more likely to be sent home from their jobs or know of a black woman who was sent home over their hair. Now, anti-hair-discrimination legislation is being championed by The CROWN Coalition, a national alliance comprised of Dove, the National Urban League, Color of Change, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty.

“Dove is proud to be a part of changing the narrative for black women and girls and anyone with textured hair, and we are excited to stand with The CROWN Coalition and Sen. Holly J. Mitchell to make a tangible impact in the state of California,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, EVP and COO of North America Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever, Dove’s parent company, in a press release.

Under the Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural hair (CROWN) Act, employers and school officials will be prohibited from enforcing grooming policies that restrict natural hairstyles, like cornrows, braids, and locs. “The CROWN Act is about inclusion, pride, and choice,” said State Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, the author of the bill, in a statement. “This law protects the right of black Californians to choose to wear their hair in its natural form, without pressure to conform to Eurocentric norms.”

Additionally, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law Wednesday making California the first state to ban discrimination against black students and employees over their natural hairstyles. During a press conference last week, Gov. Newsom said his consciousness about the stigmatization of black hair was raised last year when a black wrestler was forced to cut off his dreadlocks in order to participate in a high school wrestling match in New Jersey. Footage of a white woman cutting off the teen’s dreads went viral and sparked a firestorm of backlash. “His decision whether or not to lose an athletic competition or lose his identity came into, I think, stark terms for millions of Americans,” said Newsom. That type of discrimination “is played out in the workplace, it’s played out in schools.”

In February, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued a ban on hair discrimination, granting legal recourse for victims of the practice.

The unique set of challenges that black women face in the workplace is well-documented. A 2016 study, titled the “Good Hair” Study: Explicit and Implicit Attitudes Toward Black Women’s Hair, found that most people, regardless of race and gender, have an implicit bias toward women of color based on their hair. White women, however, have the strongest bias—both explicit and implicit—against textured hair, rating it as less beautiful, less sexy or attractive, and less professional than smooth hair.

Career | Black Enterprise


What a Cliche!: The 5 Most Overused Resume Phrases

Just because something sounds good, doesn’t mean you should put it on your resume. A million other people probably have used the same phrase time and time again in their cover letter and during their interview. In today’s competitive job market, your resume needs to be innovative, unique, and eye-catching. This can’t be accomplished by using the same tired phrases that recruiters and hiring managers see and hear just about every day. Career strategist Jodi Brockington, founder & president of Niara Consulting talks about the most overused resume phrases and how we can put them to rest for ultimate job seeking success.

5 Most Overused Resume Phrases

‘I’m a team player’

This phrase is used far too often because job seekers know that every employer wants a team player. However, it’s best to demonstrate how you’ve been a team player rather than just saying that you are one. “‘Team player’ can also be misleading because it can suggest that you are a follower rather than a leader,” Brockington says. Consider phrases like “played various roles,”  “worked with multiple departments,” “thrived in diverse work environments,” or “handled a variety of tasks.”

“The team player thing is kind of played out,” she adds.


‘I have extensive experience in…’

People love to use this phrase, whether they’ve been working for 10 days or 10 years. Extensive is a very vague word that doesn’t tell an employer much about the actual experience you have, Brockington says. “[Extensive experience] can imply that you’ve been stagnant or that you’re older.” There was a time when this phrase was more acceptable because employers sought out individuals who had been doing the same thing for a long time. “Nowadays people are looking to hire that ‘master of many,’” Brockington says. Employers are more impressed by job seekers who have advanced and have multiple areas of expertise.

More specific phrases such as “five years progressive experience in project management and staff leadership” are a better option.

‘I’m a multitasker’

The fact that you can surf the Web while talking on the phone doesn’t make you a multitasker. In addition, multi-tasking isn’t necessarily a good trait if it isn’t done effectively. Brockington says that if not used in the proper context, “multitasker” can lead employers to believe that you aren’t detail-oriented or able to pay adequate attention to specific tasks.

It may be better to include that you are “able to prioritize and efficiently manage multiple assignments” rather than just saying that you’re a multi-tasker.

‘I am entrepreneurial-minded’

This word can be particularly damaging if it’s not something that the position calls for. Most job seekers refer to themselves as “entrepreneurial” in order to show independence and leadership skills. However, the term often implies that you “lack work experience or want to do things your own way,” Brockington says.

She suggests that a better approach would be to highlight your skills in strategic planning, leadership, understanding corporate vision and culture, risk-taking, and out-of-the-box thinking.

‘I work well in a fast-paced environment’

 It’s not very likely that an employer will refer to their company as slow-paced. So, it really isn’t necessary to indicate that you can “work in a fast-paced environment.” The term is too general and doesn’t tell the employer about the specific settings in which you’re most experienced, Brockington says.

She suggests that you provide more valuable phrases that talk about competency and completion of tasks such as “implement key time-management skills in high-demand settings” or “able to exceed company expectations by prioritizing tasks and completing assignments ahead of schedule.”

While these phrases might be cliche, Brockington says they can work for or against a job seeker. While there are no set rules on what phrases should and should not be used, it’s important to research the company and the role to see what might work and what should be avoided. Whenever possible, stay away from generic and general terms and always quantify or quality your experience with specific numbers and tangible evidence of your accomplishments.

-Editors’ Note: This article has been updated from its original publish date in 2012

Career | Black Enterprise


General Motors Gives the Iconic Chevy Blazer a Reboot with Help from This Young, Black Aerodynamics Engineer

What do you think of when you think of who typically drives a Chevy Blazer; a white dude—maybe in the Midwest or South? Someone who lives for off-roading their vehicle through dirt trails? Well, the Chevy Blazer has gotten a reboot in 2019. General Motors is targeting its new lineup of crossover Blazers to a younger, more diverse consumer market. And helping to lead that effort is someone who fits that demographic: Charles Muse—a 28-year-old aerodynamics engineer at General Motors.

“I’ve been a car guy since I was little,” says the Ohio State University grad who hails from Chicago. “I helped my dad restore his vehicle. I tore apart my car, broke it, fixed it, and broke it again,” says Muse.

He’s not just a ‘car guy’ though. Muse received both academic and sports scholarships to attend Ohio State where he played basketball. He also participated in a number of technical programs before attending college which he says fostered his love for aircrafts and flying. He ended up studying aerospace engineering.

It was at a career fair that Muse was introduced to the idea of working with General Motors. “I always thought ‘Oh, I’m an aerospace engineer major, I’ll go to Boeing, I’m going to go to Lockheed Martin – I’m going to work on aircrafts,” he recollects.

“And then I went to a career fair at General Motors and they said, ‘No, we have aerodynamicists. We work a lot with stringent fuel economy requirements that are coming out. We have a need for aero performance engineers.’”

A New Era in Crossover Vehicles

Muse spoke about his passion for the new Chevy Blazer and what it took to make the car come to life. His enthusiasm as he shows the vehicle and talks about what his role was in creating it is palpable.

“Overall, you can tell this vehicle has a very striking stance,” says Muse. “And that’s because when it was framed up we knew that we wanted to penetrate the crossover market and we wanted to do something dramatic. So we started out with the Chevrolet Camaro which is the born and bred American muscle car, and we took those proportions and we threw it into a crossover. That ideology just bloomed and grew into something that we could make functional.”

Chevy Blazer

(TalismanPHOTO for Chevrolet)

The new Chevy Blazer lineup is available in three models. The Blazer RS—is the sportiest iteration. The RS features a honeycombed grill and from the front, resembles the iconic Camaro design.

The Blazer Premier model has a bit more of a sophisticated look with more chrome detailing and a slightly sleeker design. The third version, the Blazer, has the same athletic design but not as much content packaging according to GM reps.

The demand for crossovers—vehicles that combine the features of a car with an SUV or truck— is growing. According to a report from Quartz, crossovers could make up 50% of US car sales by 2020.

That demand means it’s an ideal time for black STEM grads to land prestigious positions at car manufacturers, even if their academic majors may not seem a fit in the industry as Muse found out. He also spoke about how his aerodynamic knowledge led to implementing specific features in the new Chevy Blazer.

Aerodynamics Infused With Cars

Muse says he and his team “worked hand-in-hand with the design team” on engineering functions.

“If you [said] to me, ‘hey we got this fuel economy target,’ I know exactly what, from an aero perspective, I need to do for this vehicle to meet that target,” explains the engineer who also has a pilot’s license.

“But it’s also not going to look as pretty as I want. So I have to work with the designers and say ‘OK well, we have to maintain this feature line and this wheel base and this stance, to make it work.”

Chevy Blazer

(TalismanPHOTO for Chevrolet)

Crouching down alongside the vehicle, Muse points out various features. “Underneath the vehicle we have different panels and shielding; we have different features on the front, how we shape it – like this may just look like a little insert piece, but it’s there for function,” he says.

“We reduced the overall pressure on the vehicle. If you’ve even been on the highway and you put your hand out the window and it’s all nice and smooth – and then you turn your hand this way and it’s trying to push [it] up – [it’s] the same thing with a car and that determines your fuel economy.”

“I’ve changed things from wheels to the hood line,” he says. While the goal is to give the Blazer the athletic look, there are other considerations for engineers to work out.

“[The hood’s] height differential is purely driven by aero[dynamics] because if you have air that is flowing up –you might have seen, if you’ve driven in the rain, how the water creeps us and goes up your windshield—that determines at what point the air hits – and that’s a big enabler for aero performance,” he says.

“[We] can’t bring the hood up too much because there’s vision requirements – there’s pedestrian protection requirements – you don’t want to hit someone and then it puts that person directly into your windshield.”

From Ideation to Actualization

Muse says it can take over four years for a vehicle to go from concept to an actual production model.

Chevy Blazer

(TalismanPHOTO for Chevrolet)

“We have this design that starts as a sketch and we go to a clay model; figure out what we need to do what concepts we need to add to the vehicle; how do we need to shape it so that we can meet a certain drag number, or aero requirement that automatically translates to fuel economy,” he says.

“There’s so much you have to think about and boxes you have to stay within, but still we have an aero requirement that we need to meet. So you really exhaust all angles. It’s my job to figure out: Can I reduce the pressure of the car, get better fuel economy, and make it quiet while also maintaining the design? And the designer will come in and say, ‘yep, and we are going to make it black because that looks sexy.’”





Career | Black Enterprise


[Video] Carolynn Johnson Named CEO of DiversityInc

DiversityInc, which focuses on the benefits diversity brings to businesses, just named Carolynn Johnson as its new CEO. In addition, the company released its 2019 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.

“We have an amazing history that goes back to when Carolynn was just 22 years old,” said DiversityInc founder Luke Visconti via a press release. “This relationship has been a long, professional development for us both. She is prepared for the job that she has been working towards. I will step back, let her lead, and support her with everything I have.”

Visconti will step down from his role as CEO and will become chairman of DiversityInc.

AT&T topped the list of best companies for diversity. Other top companies included Marriott International Inc., ADP, Hilton, Eli Lilly, Comcast, Accenture, and Mastercard.

Johnson, previously COO for DiversityInc, was a speaker at the 2019 Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit. She participated in the panel session, “An Honest Conversation About Race in the Workplace.” During the panel, she offered this memorable quote, “In order to get over our fear and shame, we have to understand the other side of racial fatigue.” Watch the video below for the entire panel with Carolynn Johnson. And click here to view the entire 2019 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.


Career | Black Enterprise


The Woman Behind this $117.5M Venture Backed Co-Working Space is a Black CFO

The Wing is one of the most sought-after co-working spaces in the female business community. Not long after opening their doors and rolling out to multiple locations across the country did the unicorn track company raise over $ 117.5 million bringing on investors that included Kerry Washington, Valerie Jarrett, and Serena Williams. The woman behind the finances, Diedra Nelson, is a black chief financial officer.

In an interview with Black Enterprise Nelson speaks about her journey into finance, why she chose The Wing, and what advice she would give black women looking to secure a similar career path.

Black Enterprise: How did you start your career in finance?

Diedra Nelson: Growing up, many of my family members worked in medicine, so it was something I always envisioned as my part of my career path. I started out at Syracuse as a biology major, but knew immediately after my very first chemistry class that it wasn’t for me. I remember calling my mom to tell her and I changed my focus to marketing and finance the next day.

Following my gut instinct was the best decision I made. I was interested in how businesses communicate with their consumers and how they operated from a financial perspective. Understanding both has been invaluable as I have moved from more established companies to building and scaling newer companies with deeply loyal customers.

I was lucky enough to land a paid internship at General Electric (GE) for two summers while in college and worked extremely hard. I treated my time there like I was a full-time employee, which paid off because I ended up landing there after graduation.  Four years later, I was recruited to Goldman Sachs to support their Securities Division. Spending the first decade of my career in more traditional corporate environments taught me process, structure, how a P&L (profit & loss statement) works, and how to run a business efficiently and ensure the business can scale in a financially responsible way. These are all critical elements for startups — and I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t had such a solid foundation.

I became increasingly aware of the lack of women who looked like me in my industry, and so that impacted the degree in which I pursued being as successful as possible, and one day a CFO. It became part of my drive.

What have been some of your struggles as a minority woman of color in your space?

Many of the people I meet — including other business leaders and investors — can’t believe that I’m the chief financial officer of a scaling, successful, unicorn-track company. When they hear me introduce myself as CFO of The Wing,  there is almost always a visible moment of disbelief followed by a realization that their reaction was a result of the implicit bias they are harboring. It happens far too often, and as a black woman at the executive level, I know there is so much work to do in making sure more women of color are able to rise to the top of the financial totem poles at companies. Women of color represent less than 2% of corporate officers at some of the country’s leading companies, and so there is a distinct responsibility, privilege, and honor to be able to serve as an example for so many black and brown women who are thinking about getting into careers in finance or want to be in the C-suite of a successful company. The barriers exist, yes, but I know that by being in this role, I am making room for more women who look like me to be where I am one day. I am inspired by so many of the black women who are making strides in the public eye to normalize our roles as financiers and leaders like Mellody Hobson, Shonda Rhimes and Valerie Jarrett who are all Wing women!

What piqued your interest in the job as CFO of the Wing?

Being personally invested in a company’s mission and believing in the opportunity to make something better has been a guiding principle of mine. As women of color, I think so many of us are drawn to work that allows us an opportunity to make our communities better or create something that adds value to people’s lives. The Wing felt right for me because I knew that so many women were joining to organize, advance their own careers and businesses, and help others in the communities we were expanding to. The opportunity to help shape and lead the financial success of a business like that was a no brainer. And on top of that, the idea of serving as a Chief Financial Officer, a role that would allow me to pave the way for others, was amazing.

What are some of the milestones that you’ve been able to hit while in this position?

I’m extremely proud of my team and the financial infrastructure we have built. It has allowed us to keep up with the enormous interest and demand of our growing Wing community. The Wing started with 200 members in just one small location in Flatiron just a little over two years ago, and today are nearly 8,000 strong across 7 cities and scaling internationally this summer. I’m also am especially proud of the financial acumen we are instilling in our company’s culture: we are extremely transparent with our staff about the financial health and goals of the company, so they feel invested in the process and know where their department fits into the overall financial goals of the organization. It’s been great to see how motivated the staff is and how they incorporate this knowledge into their everyday strategic processes.

In December of 2018, we closed a $ 75 million Series C funding round, one of the largest rounds raised by an all-women team in recent history and an important milestone to support scaling our physical locations and digital experience. Every time we walked into a pitch meeting, I was the one who was responsible for presenting the financial health and potential to investors. It does not escape me how powerful it is to have me, a black woman, presenting the financial roadmap and successes of our business, but I know that it is incredibly important to dispel the notion that people who have this incredibly important job have to look a certain way.

What is the advice that you would give to black women looking for a career in finance?

There are not a lot of us in this field at the moment and we’re held to a different standard, period. It’s really important to know your worth and come prepared for every aspect of your job, and be prepared to work harder than others. Come to the table with an opinion and make sure that the recommendation is supported by numbers, research, and facts.

Build a personal board of directors. I have been so fortunate to have an incredible tribe who have supported, encouraged, and helped me see that I could be in a role like this because they knew I was capable and went to bat for me. Finally, know that you can get to where you want to be, but it will take a tremendous amount of work to get there. The playing field is not level for us and you will have to work both harder and smarter. But it will pay off in the end.


Career | Black Enterprise


Appointed Interim CEO of Bed, Bath & Beyond, She is the First Black Woman to Head a Fortune 500 Company Since Ursula Burns

Meet Bed, Bath & Beyond’s new interim CEO, Mary Winston. She will be the first black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company since Ursula Burns stepped down as the CEO of Xerox in 2017.

Winston has a long career as an executive. Previously, she was executive vice president and chief financial officer of family Dollar Stores. In 2015, she was listed on Black Enterprise’s roster of the ‘50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America.’

She’s also held executive positions at Giant Eagle Inc.; Scholastic Corporation; and Pfizer. Her career began as a CPA and auditor at Arthur Anderson & Co.

Just recently brought onto Bed, Bath, & Beyond’s board of directors Winston is taking the helm after the prior CEO Steven Temares, resigned. According to a report from USA Today, the retail brand is experience some tumult. It’s facing a decline in sales due to Amazon’s sales domination and had a round of layoffs earlier this year.

“Bed Bath & Beyond has a significant opportunity to drive value creation by building on its great brands and strong customer affinity,” said Patrick Gaston, Independent Chairman of the Bed Bath & Beyond Board via a press release.

“As the Company continues its efforts to improve its financial performance and enhance its competitive position, the Board determined that now is the right time to identify the next generation of leadership. We are fortunate to have someone of Mary’s caliber to serve as Interim CEO while the Board conducts a search for a permanent successor, and are confident in her ability to lead the Company forward during this transition period,” he added.

“This is an important time for Bed Bath & Beyond and we are committed to being the leading omnichannel retailer of choice for the home and heart-felt life events,” stated Winston also through a press release.

“Together with the Board, including the members of the Business Transformation and Strategy Review Committee, the leadership team and our more than 60,000 associates, I look forward to building an even stronger future for Bed Bath & Beyond. As we continue to review our business initiatives, we will be focused on driving continued margin improvement, enhancing the in-store and online experience, and accelerating our transformation to the benefit of our shareholders, customers and other stakeholders,” she said.





Career | Black Enterprise


Airbnb Hires New Head of Global Diversity and Belonging

In an effort to move forward with efficiency and to further enact its most recent manifesto, Airbnb has hired Melissa Thomas-Hunt whose background is rooted in building inclusive, global teams. She comes from Vanderbilt University, where she served as vice provost for Inclusive Excellence.

In her previous role, Thomas-Hunt was responsible for helping advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in Vanderbilt’s academic research and community of almost 22,000 students, staff and faculty. Prior to her work at Vanderbilt, Thomas-Hunt served as global chief diversity officer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business where she was focused on ensuring that the student community was seen, heard, valued, and supported.

In her role at Airbnb, Thomas-Hunt will lead the strategy and execution of global internal diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging programs for Airbnb’s 5,000 employees around the world.

“We aspire to be a global leader in diversity and belonging—not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s core to our mission,” said Brian Chesky, co-founder, CEO, and Head of Community in a statement. “To have the impact we want on the world, we have to start inside our own walls and make sure every employee at Airbnb feels like they belong. Melissa is a visionary in this space who has spent her career exploring the causes of inequality, finding solutions to promote inclusion, and producing real change. I am incredibly grateful that she has agreed to bring her leadership and expertise to Airbnb.”

At Vanderbilt, Thomas-Hunt’s research and teaching focused on organizational behavior and the factors that unleash, leverage and amplify the talents and contributions made by women and underrepresented individuals. Prior to that, she worked at IBM as a marketing representative and received her master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University.

“I felt deeply called by Airbnb’s mission and purpose. Increasing belonging is powerful, compelling and complex to operationalize,” said Thomas-Hunt in a statement. “By continuing to build a diverse and inclusive team around the world, we can help individuals shift and shape their trajectory to realize their full potential, and I am honored to join Airbnb to help achieve these goals.” 

In recent years, Airbnb has launched a series of initiatives like the Airbnb Community Commitment and Open Doors policies that help fight discrimination and promote belonging. Thomas-Hunt will advise Airbnb on these and other initiatives that are designed to work to fight bias and ensure the platform is open and fair for all hosts and guests.

Career | Black Enterprise


How I Landed My First TEDx Talk and How You Can Too

I often get asked this question by other entrepreneurs; “How did you get to do a TEDx talk?” My answer is simple, I pitched my idea, and after submitting my speech to the TEDx committee, I was selected as a speaker. Here are strategies you can use to share your idea and how to avoid the mistakes that I made that almost prevented me from reaching the TEDx stage.

How to Land a TEDx Talk

Shoot your shot

My goal in 2018 was to give a TEDx talk. I thought I had my talk figured out. My first talk was going to cover utilizing the power of innovation to help prevent military veteran suicides.

Although I considered myself a subject matter expert, having recently developed an award-winning mobile application that helps veterans access life-saving resources, my talk wasn’t well thought out. I pitched a local TEDx event and made it to the top seventh pick. However, I was not selected to speak and was encouraged to pitch the following year again. I was devastated, to make it that far and not have an opportunity to share my ideas.

Rather than soaking in despair, I kept the TEDx goal on my whiteboard hoping to have the opportunity to pitch my idea for another TEDx conference. In speaking with a colleague in the industry, I randomly shared an idea that I wanted to talk about. To my surprise, my colleague said my idea was a great topic to speak about and advised me to send in a speaker proposal for a TEDx event —”Shoot my shot” were her exact words. To my amazement, I was finally selected as a TEDx speaker.

Develop your idea

The TEDx organizers develop a theme for every TEDx event. Your speaking topic should reflect the theme of the event. Alter your TEDx pitch around the theme and you stand a better chance of securing your spot on the TEDx stage. TEDx themes are readily accessible on their event website.

If TEDx has been your goal, continue to stay encouraged. You never know who you will meet and present an idea to that might end with you speaking on the TEDx stage.

Career | Black Enterprise


5 Benefits You Can Gain from Executive Coaching

Coaching is a billion-dollar industry. Either companies are securing them for their executives, or individuals are paying out of their pockets to get this resource on their side. According to executiv+co, executive coaching—once looked upon with skepticism—is now embraced as the way to a more enriched workplace, and leaders have discovered that it works.

If your company invests in you in this way, you may see it as a perk; but in some cases, it is a way to correct management or leadership styles that may be veering off the tracks. No matter, coaching has been around for more than 30 years, and apparently, has only blossomed.

The Benefits You Can Gain from Executive Coaching

It’s a great EQ enhancer.

Your emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) is so incredibly important in leadership. Whether you are in the C-suite or a small business leader, it’s important to have keen self-awareness and awareness of your interpersonal and one-to-one engagement with your clients, your reports and others. Imagine, if you had a clearer understanding of self, what power you could unleash at work. An executive coach can do that. You’d know when to dial it up or dial it down. Self-awareness is key to emotional intelligence, and it will make you stronger with interpersonal interactions, thanks to the strengths assessments rooted in positive psychology that coaches engage. Knowing yourself is also a key tenant of authenticity, which will allow others to see you more clearly. You will also be able to see others more clearly. An executive coach with a keen cultural insight can also help navigate unconscious biases that may stand in the way of a company’s ultimate success because it can clear the way of filtered and sometimes inaccurate assessments of talent.

It increases empathy.

Executive coaches have the power to unleash empathy in leaders.

Understanding others or at least the capacity to understand can make you a better leader. According to some research, there really are three forms that we need to master as leaders for it to have an impact:

  • cognitive empathy – where you can imagine what it’s like in your mind to be in someone else’s “shoes”
  • social empathy – where you can immediately feel what someone else must be feeling in any given situation
  • empathetic concern – where you not only feel it or think it, but you certainly can muster concern for the other person in the form of wanting to engage and help them

It makes your goals clearer.

If you’ve ever felt that you were bogged down in work and having a hard time reaching your goals, it could be due to cognitive clutter that day-to-day work can cause. An executive coach can help you in your quest to prioritize the important and delegate or discard lower-level tasks that bog us down.

It speeds up and fuels goal-crushing.

Executive coaches can help you reach or exceed your goals faster, and who doesn’t want that? But be aware, the self-assessment that is involved may not be as attractive to some. The idea of uncovering the strengths you have may uncover the weaknesses. If you are an executive coaching client, be prepared to put ego aside in order to do the real work that will allow you to crush it faster and cement your reputation for performance excellence.

It makes you a better leader.

As you begin to know yourself and others better; you will become a better person. Better people make better leaders. Better leaders make companies better, small or large. Empathy and EQ are key to that. You will build better power relationships, leverage your strength, and achieve what you want.

Listen to the brand new episode of The Culture Soup Podcast that launched Tuesday, May 14th called “The Coaching Corner.”  L. Michelle Smith is the host executive and business coach. It airs every second Tuesday of the month and hacks your goals while tackling the pain points of corporate executives and small business owners. Smith is also an official business coach for BE FWD, June 19–22 in Charlotte, NC.

Register for FWD

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The post 5 Benefits You Can Gain from Executive Coaching appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Lori Chennault, Georgia-Pacific Executive, Offers 5 Ways to Successfully Navigate a Corporate Career as a Black Woman

As the VP – IT, Consumer Products Group at Georgia-Pacific Group, Lori Chennault is an example of a black woman who found her way through the often-turbulent corporate career waters. At the 2019 Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, Chennault shared her views on how black women can not only navigate corporate careers but how they can achieve success.

During the “An Honest Conversation About Gender in the Workplace,” a session sponsored by Georgia-Pacific and Koch Industries, Chennault, a wife of 22 years and mother of two children, offered these tips:

  • “There will be times when I have to ask for help to manage the priorities. And that is OK.”
  • “We spend so much energy on things we can’t control, and we lose sight on things we can control.”
  • “As you navigate, take time to look in the mirror and laugh at yourself. That’s the best thing—personal feedback, as well as seeking feedback.”
  • “Take time to stop and say, ‘What happened today? Were those good decisions? Did I get off-course?’ And if you get off-course, it’s OK. I haven’t met one perfect person yet.”
  • “Stop seeking titles. Take some risks and be passionate about learning to grow. When you step out there to take risks, do it with what’s in your toolbox. Find things that play to your strengths.”

Watch the entire video of the session below:

The post Lori Chennault, Georgia-Pacific Executive, Offers 5 Ways to Successfully Navigate a Corporate Career as a Black Woman appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Mayra Ocampo, Art Director at Koch, on How Women Millennials of Color Can Move Up in Their Careers

Mayra Ocampo, art director for Koch Communications Marketing, spoke at the 2019 Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit. During her panel session, “They Got Now: What it Takes to Level Up Early,” the young corporate leader spoke about her journey as a millennial of color making her way in her career and having the “ganas,” [Spanish for ‘desire’] to make it. Take a look at the video:

The post Mayra Ocampo, Art Director at Koch, on How Women Millennials of Color Can Move Up in Their Careers appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


5 Critical Business Development Truths Every Black Freelance Writer Ought to Know

Choosing to become a freelance writer and turning your writing talents into a profitable career are two very different stories. You can possess excellent grammar and spelling skills, but if you can’t build a profitable business around your talents, your freelance writing dreams are likely to be nothing more than a mirage. Understanding how to turn your writing yearnings into a revenue-focused business is essential for long-term success as a freelance writer. If this is the year you transition from being a wannabe writer to a writing business owner, remember the following five critical business development truths every freelance writer ought to know.

Evaluate the ROI of Your Writing Clients

Walking away from low-ROI, high-demand freelance writing clients is OK. Not every writing relationship offers a significant return-on-investment for your writing business. Learn early on in your writing career how to evaluate the ROI of your clients. Are they helping you grow your portfolio with a byline in a respected publication? Are they paying you enough to meet your revenue-per-hour goals? Do they request multiple revisions on each project, thereby driving down your revenue-per-hour rate? The sooner you learn how to evaluate the ROI of your writing clients, the sooner you’ll build a revenue-positive writing business you can be proud of.


Combine a Niche Specialty with a Format Specialty

Chances are good you have already heard the advice to choose a niche to specialize in. However, did you know that choosing a writing format can also help increase revenues for your freelance writing business? Not only should you specialize in an industry, but you should also consider concentrating on one or two types of content. Offer white papers and case studies for the digital marketing sector. Create blog posts for SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) startups. Also, build a reputation as a sales letter copywriter for the affiliate marketing sector. Once you learn the power of combining a business niche with a content format, you’ll kick yourself for not discovering this exceptional career-development hack sooner.

Network Strategically

Your network has a significant influence on lead generation opportunities for your writing business. Find niche-specific forums via a tool like and offer helpful insights your target clients can use. Build a knowledge-based reputation within your industry, and you’ll soon have to start turning away clients for your freelance writing business.

Consistent Education Upgrades Equals Business Development Mastery

Continuing your education as a freelance writer is essential if you want to enjoy a long and profitable career as an on-demand wordsmith. Immerse yourself in new industries. Learn new writing formats. Study business sectors experiencing rapid growth. Pay attention to which startup sectors are attracting investment capital. Continually increasing your knowledge base makes good business sense. Not only will you be able to attract more clients to your writing business, but you’ll also build a reputation as an expert who can be depended upon to craft compelling content. Developing a deep knowledge base also helps you to transition your writing business and improve client quality while increasing your writing rates at the same time.

Control Your Clients

How much you charge, how you’re paid, and the revisions you offer are within your control. Professional writers don’t allow clients to tell them what a blog post will cost or how many revisions will be required in an article. Writing is a business, and you’re a business owner. You can’t tell the supermarket manager how much you’re willing to pay for your groceries. Don’t allow clients to tell you how much they’re willing to pay for your writing services. Know how much you charge for your writing services and only work with clients who respect your professionalism and honor your business practices.

Remember these five critical truths for freelance writers, and you’ll improve your odds of building a thriving and profitable writing business. Choosing to be a freelance writer is a decision not to be taken lightly. The sooner you start treating your writing career like a business, the sooner you’ll start living your freelance writing dreams.

The post 5 Critical Business Development Truths Every Black Freelance Writer Ought to Know appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Four Things Steve Canal Wants You to Know About Marketing and Branding

Steve Canal was a star college athlete and now is a branding expert. He’s worked with an impressive list of companies including McDonald’s, Facebook, Coors Light, Delta, and Walmart. After some stumbles in his journey, he has learned many lessons of success in marketing and branding. 

For example, Canal worked with the U.S. Army in its branding efforts. That work taught him the value of human connection. He led a national campaign that connected recruiters to potential soldiers looking for opportunities. The campaign involved wrapping hummers and jets in U.S. Army branding and turning them into interactive installations. It gave the brand identity, and made potential recruits feel invited and engaged. 

His work has led him to other marketing and branding realizations from which other entrepreneurs and marketing and PR professions can learn.

Four Things Steve Canal Wants You to Know About Marketing and Branding (In His own Words)

-What leads the campaign is research. I need to know what you’re passionate about, what motivates you, and what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, even though they may offer similar products; Company A and Company B need a unique offering that must be brought to life. You have to understand what’s important to each brand and create a package that says I’m paying attention to you, I know what’s important to you. I don’t call them clients, I call them partners because it’s a two way street.

-Who is the brand? What are they offering, and who are the people who care? Some organizations do focus groups. Take that extra step to get that insight. Times are changing, people are changing, there’s a new mindset within age demographics that don’t think like you as the brand. That’s where localizing your brand comes to play. You must find advisers and champions within those communities to get you that information, and listen to them

-It’s important to know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and find opportunities to make your weaknesses a strength. If you’re super passionate about something or you need to know something then do it. Either way, you must prioritize what’s important for you to be able to do versus what you can outsource.

-Brands need to stop thinking they have all the answers by coming up with campaigns within their walls, and not having any diversity of thought. Many times you get into these rooms to pitch, and across the table there are a bunch of like minded people coming up with campaigns without being where their customer is. Diversity of thought will make or break brands in the future. If you’re not aligned with consumers then they won’t mess with you.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The post Four Things Steve Canal Wants You to Know About Marketing and Branding appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Want Your Voice Heard? Advice on How to Get Speaking Engagements

Courtney Sanders is a speaker and podcaster who knows a thing or two about getting her voice heard. Having had the opportunity to grace many stages – including those for the United Nations and White House, Sanders offered advice for ways to clinch major speaking engagements.

How to Get Speaking Engagements

Positioning Yourself as a Speaker

Wanting to speak publicly and even being a great speaker are not enough to clinch major speaking engagements. Sanders began positioning herself as a speaker by doing two key things – hosting her own events and telling her network that she is a speaker.

“Hosting my own events was really helpful as it gave my community an opportunity to hear me speak, as well as me an opportunity to document my speaking ability when pitching myself to other engagements,” she says.

“Simply telling my network that I was now doing public speaking was extremely helpful, as that’s how my first paid gig came my way. A colleague of mine, who also is a professional speaker, had a gig that he was no longer able to speak at so he referred me. The only reason he gave them my name was because I posted on Facebook a few days prior that I was now accepting speaking engagements. When you let people know that you speak, they will keep you in mind when opportunities come up.”

How to Get Speaking Engagements

Courtney Sanders (Photo: Jaren Collins)

It’s also important that you are a groomed speaker. While experience certainly assists to make you better at your craft, having a coach or expert friend provide you with advice is priceless. Sanders shared:

“I do not have a formal speaking coach. Though, I have a friend and colleague, Stacey Flowers, who has helped me both formally and informally with my speaking technique and career. She’s an amazing professional speaker who has graciously shared a lot of wisdom with me over the years,” said Sanders.

Pricing Yourself as a Speaker

Many speakers (women, especially) have difficulty pricing themselves. Sanders explained why she feels this is such a challenge as well as her suggestions for doing so correctly.

“I believe pricing ourselves is such a challenge because we naturally undervalue our talents. For instance, speaking comes incredibly naturally to me and I’ve been good at it since I was 4 or 5 years old. When something is both easy and enjoyable for you, it’s easy to get in the habit of undervaluing yourself because you think it’s no big deal and in the beginning, you’d gladly do it for free!”

“To avoid undercharging in the beginning, I started networking with other professional speakers and set my prices within the same range as peers who had similar experience and visibility as me. As I continue to get bigger and better speaking engagements, and thus refine my craft, I increase my prices to match the new level of value I’m able to bring to my audiences.”

Dealing with The Nerves

According to the National Social Anxiety Center, the fear of public speaking is the majority of the population’s biggest fear – ahead of spiders, heights, and even death. Public speaking anxiety, also known as glossophobia, is said to affect 73% of the population. The fear of being embarrassed of messing up in front of peers and the negative judgement of onlookers leave many paralyzed.

But what does one do when they have something of value to share with the world? They re-channel those jitters into something more positive.

“I wouldn’t say I get nervous, but I do get that “jittery” surge of energy right before I step on stage. I think everyone gets that feeling; it’s just a matter of how you frame it in your mind. For new speakers, they start to feel jittery and think ‘Oh no! I’m nervous now!’ If they’re not careful that train of thought can totally derail their delivery. For me, when I feel those jitters, I get excited and say to myself “IT’S GO TIME!” In other words, I use the physical jitters as validation that I’m about to really bring it on stage.”

If you get nervous speaking in front of a crowd, try re-channelling nervous energy. Also, practice multiple times in advance (preferably in front of family and friends or your mirror), along with taking a few deep breaths before stepping on stage. Breathe in for a count of four, hold, and out for a count of four to relax yourself a bit.

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is essential for earning respect in your industry, maintaining your sanity, and enjoying your role as a public speaker. Because of this, I had to know the boundaries Sanders felt were necessary to form from the onset.

“I think the biggest boundary you have to set for yourself as a speaker, or even as an entrepreneur where your knowledge is your product, is what you will and won’t do for free. At times, speaking or giving expert advice for free can be beneficial to gain more experience and exposure. But I’ve noticed that as you get better at what you do those that are close to you will want you to speak or advise them for free, and if you’re not careful, you’ll miss out on paid opportunities because you’re committing to so many free ones.

“For me, I set boundaries by — one, getting clear on what non-monetary benefits I’m willing to exchange my time for, and two, how much time I have every quarter or year to gift my services to people and causes I care about. For instance, I was not paid to speak at the White House, but I was of course willing to do so in exchange for the experience, networking opportunities, and footage for my speaking reel. As you can imagine, speaking at the White House has opened many doors for me, including a recent speaking engagement I did at the United Nations in New York City,” she says.

Public speaking gives you a platform to share your knowledge with others and position yourself as a thought leader in your niche. If you’re really great, it increase your visibility instantly.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The post Want Your Voice Heard? Advice on How to Get Speaking Engagements appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Snapchat Gets Its First Black C-Suite Executive

Snap, the company that makes Snapchat, just named Kenny Mitchell as its new chief marketing officer. From the looks of Snap’s C-suite roster, it seems Mitchell is the company’s first African American corporate officer. Snap does have African American representation on its board—McAfee CEO Christopher Young joined its board in October 2016.

Previously, Mitchell was the vice president of brand content and engagement for McDonald’s USA. He also was the head of consumer engagement at Gatorade. While at Gatorade he led the effort to introduce Snapchat vertical video and augmented reality tools as part of the company’s consumer marketing strategy.

Some of the memorable Gatorade campaigns he was involved with include Gatorade’s Dunk AR Lens for the Super Bowl—an award-winning ad; and the Serena Williams Snap Ad game, another award-winner.

He has held other executive positions at NASCAR and Dew Tour, a division of NBC Sports Group.

He will report directly to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. In a press release, Spiegel commented on Mitchell’s hiring;

“Kenny’s consumer marketing expertise and his deep understanding of our products will be a great combination for Snap. Throughout his career, Kenny has demonstrated his ability to successfully execute innovative, global marketing campaigns, many of which have leveraged our own vertical video and augmented reality products. He’s a natural fit to join our team and lead marketing as we continue driving the positive momentum we have in the business.”

“Snap is a great company with strong values, an inspired vision and innovative products that are empowering its global community,” Mitchell said in a press release.

“I look forward to helping Evan and Snap continue to tell their story to people around the world, and working with my new colleagues as we define the future of the camera and self-expression.”

Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College and a Master of Business Administration from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

In 2017, the Snap CEO was accused of insensitive remarks in a lawsuit filed by a former employee. The lawsuit alleged Speigel said about the Snapchat app, “This app is only for rich people. I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain. Mr. Spiegel would not entertain any further discussion on the matter.”

Snap called the allegations “ridiculous,” and the accuser a “disgruntled employee,” at the time.


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Career | Black Enterprise


Prudential Financial Invests $180 Million for ‘Opportunity Youth’

Prudential Financial just announced a $ 180 million investment in what it calls ‘opportunity youth.” These are young people ages 15–29 who lack access to valuable resources including education and job training.

“Businesses like ours have a role to play in ensuring that global economic progress benefits all members of tomorrow’s workforce,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey via a press release. “Our goal is to improve young people’s lives by creating pathways for them to achieve financial wellness, strengthen their communities and ultimately help drive the global economy.”

‘Opportunity Youth’ is a global demographic of some 350 million young people who are either under or unemployed and who lack education. In the U.S., black and Native American young people comprise large segments of this population.

Prudential’s investment will extend into 2025. The financial services company is in partnership with several organizations dedicated to assisting at-risk youth including My Brother’s Keeper, YouthBuild—which teaches young people skills in the construction trades; Year Up, Andela, and its real estate investment arm, PGIM Real Estate.

Behind the numbers of the investment are real stories of people such an effort has helped. One person is Jay Hammonds, who was born to a drug-addicted mother; abandoned by his parents; and then dropped out of college.

Through Year Up, Hammonds scored an internship at Facebook. Currently, he provides IT services to Facebook executives including Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg.

“I’ve always been interested in technology, but I never thought that I could have a career in it. During the program, I was more motivated than ever. A lot of my family and friends didn’t understand what I was doing. They thought it was “too good to be true” and would say, “Where’s the scam?” They couldn’t fathom something that good, but when I got the internship at Facebook I was proof that the program was real,” says Hammonds in a statement on Year Up’s site.

Hear Jay Hammonds’ story: 


Said to be the largest private sector investment to date, Prudential’s senior vice president of Diversity, Inclusion and Impact, Lata Reddy, says that the company has seen “firsthand” how its work with its partners such as Year Up, has a “positive ripple effect.”

“Integrating this population into the workforce will drive revenue growth for businesses and the global economy. With the right skills and training, opportunity youth can be both an engine of growth and a catalyst for positive social change,” said Reddy.

Prudential was named on Black Enterprise‘s most recent “50 Best Companies for Diversity” list.

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Career | Black Enterprise


PayPal Exec, Peggy Alford, Poised to Become First Black Woman to Sit on Facebook’s Board

Peggy Alford, the senior vice president, core markets at PayPal—has been tapped to serve on Facebook’s board of directors—and is in position to become the first black woman to sit on its board.

Alford has the backing of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In a released statement the Facebook founder said, “Peggy is one of those rare people who’s an expert across many different areas — from business management to finance operations to product development. I know she will have great ideas that help us address both the opportunities and challenges facing our company.”

She has been with PayPal since 2019 and also was the chief financial officer and head of operations for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative—a philanthropic organization founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his spouse Priscilla Chan.

A Silicon Valley veteran, Alford has also held executive positions at eBay and She hails from a family of six children. Her mother has a doctorate’s degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Pittsburgh.

Alford has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from the University of Dayton in Ohio where she ran track and cross country. Focused on her career for much of her life, she had her first child at 41 and her second when she was 45. In an interview posted on PayPal’s website she spoke about work-life balance, “Balance can be extremely difficult for working mothers trying to find that happy medium of continuing to advance their careers and doing what they feel they need to do at home. Often women will opt out or feel like they can’t seek out that next big opportunity because it may take away from their responsibilities at home.”

“What excites me about the opportunity to join Facebook’s board is the company’s drive and desire to face hard issues head-on while continuing to improve on the amazing connection experiences they have built over the years,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Mark and the other directors as the company builds new and inspiring ways to help people connect and build community.”

Alford will still have to be voted to the board during the next Facebook shareholders’ meeting. Typically, nominees, particularly ones supported by a company’s CEO are appointed to the board so her position as a board member is likely.

Upon her official appointment, Alford would be the second African American on Facebook’s board. Last year, retired American Express CEO Ken Chenault joined the social media company’s board. Zuckerberg said at the time that he has been trying to recruit Chenault “for years.”

Alford is on the Black Enterprise 2018 Registry of Corporate Directors for her role as a member of the board of The Macerich Co., a real estate investment trust.



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Career | Black Enterprise


Meet Radio Industry Vet and Community Leader Patricia Robinson

When Patricia Robinson walked into the Emmis Communications office in New York for an informational interview in 2000, she had no idea the media conglomerate owned some of the most iconic radio stations in the New York market. “When I got to the 7th floor, I was greeted with three logos on the window and the logos were Hot 97, Kiss FM, and CD 101.9,” she told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “Because I didn’t do my homework, I did not understand that Emmis Communications was the parent company of all of these amazing music brands.” Robinson also had no idea that particular interview would be the start of her 17-year ascension in broadcast media.

Before joining Emmis, Robinson worked full-time as a business accountant payable manager at a meat warehouse, but she desperately wanted change. “It just got really frustrating that I had to literally walk past slabs of meat, like the Rocky movie,” she said. “At that point, I just decided that I needed to change jobs.” That prompted her to send out her resume, which ended up in the hands of a sales manager at Emmis, who called her in for an informational interview. Despite not knowing anything about the company and lacking a college degree, Robinson made a great impression during the interview and eventually landed a business office position about six months later. “One of the things that I was able to master in that interview…was knowing what my strengths were. I knew that I was really good at math and able to produce results,” she said, adding that she had come prepared with reference letters and a portfolio highlighting her career achievements. “That was my magic secret.”

Although things were going well at her new job, her first performance review took her by surprise. “99% of that review was absolutely incredible because my work ethic was really solid,” she said. However, “when I got down to the very last line, it said, ‘Patricia is a great asset to this organization, the only limitation is that she does not have a degree.’”

Those words haunted her for weeks. “I took it personally. I could not stop focusing on this one line,” she said. “I toiled with it a little while” before taking action. “Being a full-time mom of two kids, a full-time worker, and being married, I decided to enroll [in college] at night to get an Associate’s Degree.” Two years later, she proudly showcased her degree to her manager, knowing that a lack of education would never be held against her again. She later furthered her education, earning a Bachelor’s in Business & Finance and a Masters of Management & Human Resources, both from the University of Phoenix.

Now, almost two decades later, Robinson currently works as the Director of Operations for Hot 97 (WQHT 97.1FM), 107.5 WBLS, and 1190 AM WLIB, where she plays a critical role in supporting operations management with a focus on employee relations, personnel administration, recruiting, building and facility management, and FCC reporting. She also plays a significant role in the annual Hot 97 Summer Jam, one of the largest hip hop concerts in the world. In past years, she recruited volunteers from non-profit organizations like City Year, the Veterans Aid Society, and the New York Urban League to assist with organizing the festivities. “She helps keep us rooted in the community and constantly stays on the forefront of our efforts to impact our listeners’ lives positively both on and off air,” Skip Dillard, the operations manager at WBLS and WLIB, told BE in an email. “She’s also a Linkedin wizard and attends job fairs and constantly talks to people she believes should be working for us in the future.”

olin Kaepernick

Patricia Robinson and Colin Kaepernick

Outside of work, Robinson is dedicated to giving back and helping her community. She is involved with and supports several programs in the tristate area, including the New York Police Department’s “My School Has Rhythm Not Violence” and the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development. She also serves as the Executive Director for Colin Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights Camp,” an organization that raises awareness on higher education, self-empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios. “Having [youth] understand how to interact with police and law enforcement is absolutely critical,” she said. In her role, she works directly with Kaepernick and a team to coordinate camps to empower inner-city youth through social activism, education, financial literacy, law advocacy, health and wellness, and community leadership. According to her, empowering others is something she sees as a personal “responsibility” to keep them informed about “issues that will affect their existence, whether it’s discrimination, equity, [or] fair and equal treatment.”

Robinson, who has established herself as an influential leader in the broadcast media industry and is recognized for her community work and social activism engagement, credits her success, in part, to colleagues like Bob Slade, the longtime host of WBLS’ Open Line public affairs show who died last month from kidney disease at the age of 70. “I had the pleasure to work with Bob for my entire tenure,” she said. “Not only was he a respected journalist and on-air personality, he was a dear friend to me.” He also helped her learn, grow, and push herself into becoming “a viable force in the media industry as a black woman.”

Through it all, Robinson says the most rewarding part of her career has been “the ability to impact others through my work.” She also prides herself on “the ability to be the example of excellence in the eyes of a lot of young women and young men” along with “the ability to connect people to opportunities and open doors where I can.”

The post Meet Radio Industry Vet and Community Leader Patricia Robinson appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Four Tips on How to Give a Knockout Presentation

Giving a presentation in front of your peers, clients, or in front of a board is one of the more stress inducing tasks for most people. Getting up in front of a crowd to talk, explain, and bring forth an idea can be scary no matter the size of the group or who is in the room. However, as one who has presented in plenty of meetings, given a TEDx speech, and who has a stutter, I can tell you they are not as terrifying as you think.

Four Tips on Delivering a Great Presentation

Make eye contact

This was the first rule I learned when speaking publicly. Making eye contact engages people and makes them feel like they are being directly talked to, plus it invokes confidence. Your audience will believe that you know what you are talking about.

Have minimal info on slides 

When doing a presentation, sometimes you may want to use Microsoft Power Point or slides from a projector to show a picture, charts, quotes, etc. My advice is to keep the information as brief as you can. In my opinion, the visuals of a presentation are used to have you expound on a topic. The audience is there to hear you talk, not to read the slides.

Project your voice 

During a speech, talk, or presentation, one of the goals is to make sure everyone hears you. The room that you are speaking in may be small with a handful of people or packed with folks who cannot wait to hear what you have to say. No matter the size of the crowd, you want to speak at a volume level so everyone can hear you. The goal is for people in the back to hear what you have to say as well as those seated in the front.

Use your personality 

Some of the most boring, mundane meetings have been because the presenter was dry and spoke in a flat, almost robotic manner devoid of any personality. That will turn people off from what you have to say and possibly put folks to sleep. My suggestion is to inject who you are into the presentation. When I spoke at TEDxWilsonPark, one of the ways that I wanted to keep the audience interested is to show my goofy charm which gained laughs, and I was able to connect with the audience. This is your presentation; personalize it.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

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Career | Black Enterprise


Arvin Jones Accepts 2019 NSBE Lifetime Achievement in Industry Award

At the National Society of Black Engineers’ (NSBE) 45th Annual Convention held in Detroit, General Motors’ Arvin Jones received the 2019 NSBE Lifetime Achievement in Industry Award. The manufacturing executive director for Propulsion Systems and Casting Operations was able to retire from GM after 42 years of dedicated service.

During his time at the company, Jones has held a diverse array of work experiences that include industrial engineering, assistant plant manager at several locations, manufacturing manager, executive director; an interestingly enough, sales marketing and strategic planning. His first international assignment started in England for three years as a director of vehicle assembly with approximately 9,000 people under his control.

“I want to be known as a person who knew when to lead and when to be led. I want to be known as one that continually tried to learn, and I want to be known as someone who listened and had a passion for the business,” Jones stated while reflecting upon his legacy.


Gerald Johnson, executive vice president, Global Manufacturing for General Motors presented Arvin Jones, manufacturing executive director, Propulsion Systems and Casting Operations with the 2019 NSBE Lifetime Achievement in Industry Award during the National Society of Black Engineers’ (NSBE) 45th Annual Convention held in Detroit. (Image: General Motors)


So what position was he drawn to the most? “The most interesting position I had was in sales marketing and strategic planning. It gave me a different view of the company. It allowed me to grow and to learn new things and to certainly become more competitive. It was hard work, but I appreciated doing it,” stated Jones.

Throughout his career, he was able to balance his many endeavors with his family life. “In my personal life, my happiest moments were my marriage and the birth of my two sons. Professionally, my proudest accomplishment was my transition from classified employee to an executive in 1990,” continued Jones.

Under Jones’ leadership, GM has extended more than 180 job opportunities to NSBE students, with a significant majority choosing to join GM.

His commitment to people remains strong long after they start at GM. Jones has personally mentored 32 young professionals at GM. “Arvin’s mentoring group is welcoming to newcomers and known to be a forum of real talk for seekers of truth. He challenges his group to read, share, listen and give back to others. His efforts enrich mentees and help retain them within the automotive industry,” stated mentee Talona Jackson.


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Career | Black Enterprise


Black Entrepreneurs Are Leveling Up with TD Jakes

On April 6, we soared to new heights with TD Jakes in Atlanta, Georgia, as we kicked off the first installation of the SOAR Empowerment series hosted by Nationwide. Over 700 entrepreneurs, business men and women, and leaders convened at the Georgia World Congress Center to receive wealth building resources.

After remarks from BLACK ENTERPRISE president and CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. and Lu Yarbrough, associate vice president, Enterprise Diverse Marketing; TD Jakes opened the morning with a powerful message on the importance of building healthy relationships and breaking gravitational pulls that hold people back.

His message resonated with the aspiring, emerging, and established entrepreneurs and professionals in the room who were looking for an uplifting word as they prepared to soar.

The event continued with remarks from Karmetria Burton, general manager of Supplier Diversity for Delta Airlines, who encouraged attendees to understand their unique value proposition as they do business. Lamar Tyler, BE Modern Man and founder of Traffic, Sakes, and Profit and TSP Live, shared how to be intentional about your passion, purpose, and profit to monetize a business idea.

Here are five questions Tyler says you should ask yourself before you start a business:

  1. Can you do this without a cheerleader?
  2. Will I invest what’s required?
  3. Will I keep going when it gets tough?
  4. Is my WHY big enough?
  5. Are you ready to soar?

Koreyelle DuBose, founder of WERK PRAY SLAY dropped massive gems during her presentation on maximizing your earning power.

Health is wealth

Eli Lily challenged event-goers to prioritize their health with a relevant conversation about diabetes prevention. Dr. Rovenia Brock followed up with an informative presentation on how to create a personalized nutrition plan.

The afternoon continued with a riveting talk given by Dr. Dennis Kimbro on what it takes to “Think and Grow Rich.”  “I’m really into wealth, not income…big difference.”

JP Morgan Chase also gave a special presentation on their program Advancing Black Pathways. And as the number one employer of Morehouse graduates — they are committed to hiring 4,000 black graduates over the next five years.

Make your money work for you

Ash “Cash” Exantus, founder and chief financial educator shared how to build a financial freedom fund to set oneself up to win. “If you are exchanging time for money, you are wasting it,” he told the audience.

Charreah K. Jackson followed up with an engaging presentation on how to negotiate your way to the top.

Dr. Michele ‘Fit Doc’ Reed gave a final presentation on how to develop and maintain a fitness lifestyle by being mentally fit and physically strong.

If you’re interested in soaring to new heights, we’ll be taking flight in multiple cities so stay tuned for more updates!

The post Black Entrepreneurs Are Leveling Up with TD Jakes appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Tapped to Sit on Fed Board, Herman Cain Straddles Fence Between Business Success and Political Controversy

Perhaps no other black business person stirs up more polarizing debate than Herman Cain. The former head of Godfather’s Pizza, stepped into the political limelight in 2011 when he announced his candidacy as the Republican presidential nominee. That effort was thwarted by a series of sexual harassment allegations against Cain. Yet, he has re-emerged on the national stage as a proposed pick by President Trump to sit on the Federal Reserve Board. A success in business, yet, a failure in politics—is now the time for Herman Cain to rise to political prominence?

Herman Cain’s Business Backstory

Cain was named president of the then-failing Godfather’s Pizza chain in 1986. In an article from Black Enterprise in 1988 on Cain: “Fresh from rejuvenating Pillsbury’s Burger King chain in the Philadelphia region, the energetic, enthusiastic new president of Godfather’s went immediately to work closing weak outlets, strengthening the company’s advertising thrust, repairing relations with franchisees and swiftly resolving legal conflicts.”

Herman Cain

Black Enterprise Magazine

Without question, Cain has proven he possesses sharp business acumen. Under his leadership, Godfather’s Pizza saw a reversal in sales decline and generated $ 260 million in sales.

He demonstrated business savvy early on. The Morehouse College graduate served a short period in the Navy and then went on to complete a master’s degree in Computer Science at Purdue University. His first corporate position was as a business analyst at Coca-Cola.

Cain’s business talents came to light during his next gig at Pillsbury where he advanced to vice president status within five years.

Entrepreneurial Mindset

Although he quickly ascended the corporate ladder, Cain also had an entrepreneurial spirit. He set his sights on the fast food business—even becoming a member of a Burger King kitchen crew to learn the ins and outs of the hamburger business. Within seven months, he was promoted to regional vice president.

“You’ve got to have a passion for that business, followed by a desire to make it to the top,” he said in an interview with Black Enterprise in 1988. “Then you will do whatever you need to do in order to get there.”

He eventually bought the Godfather’s Pizza chain from its parent company, Pillsbury for an estimated $ 50 million. The transaction was the first leveraged buyout of a major fast-food company by a black executive in business history.

Political Ambitions

Cain’s political ambitions were made clear when he ran as a Republican presidential nominee. Plagued by scandal, his campaign fell flat—perhaps one of the rare failures for the businessman.

Now, with the blessings of Donald Trump, it seems that Cain is poised to assume a prominent political and economic position at the Federal Reserve. How likely is his appointment and is he the person for the job?

No, says Catherine Rampell, a columnist for The Washington Post. And it isn’t just about the troubling sexual harassment allegations that took down his presidential run, she says.

“When it comes to understanding pretty basic policy issues, Cain isn’t able,” writes Rampell.

“Most people who remember anything about Cain’s brief political career might know him for the “9-9-9” tax rate plan. Unfortunately, neither did that plan have rates that were actually 9 percent nor did it turn out to be particularly strong in its arithmetic,” she continues.

A fellow Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney, also cast doubt about Cain’s fitness for the Fed. “I doubt that will be a nomination. But if it were a nomination, you can bet [what] the interest rates he would be pushing for,” Romney said in an interview.

“If Herman Cain were on the Fed, you’d know the interest rate would soon be 9-9-9.”

Some Republicans are more optimistic. Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican, said about Cain; “He’s a business guy. He’s got a great background for it. I know him personally. I think personally he’d be a great addition,” according to Fortune.

Cain’s businesses successes have seemed to elude his success in politics. Is his appointment a serious consideration or another one of the mercurial President’s whims? And if appointed to the Fed, how effective can he be? That all remains to be seen.



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Career | Black Enterprise


Black Women Can’t Wait 106 Years for Equal Pay

Today is National Equal Pay Day and it is only right to address the fact that black women work twice as hard as their counterparts, if not harder, yet still earn less. According to research conducted by the Institute for Women’s Research Policy, if trends in the pay gap persist like they have over the last 30 years, black women will have to continue to work hard until 2124 just to receive equal pay.

We spoke with Teresa C. Younger, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation, about closing the pay gap and how women can persevere as they work toward receiving equal pay.

What does closing the pay gap mean for women beyond the dollar signs?

The pay gap is really about how we value women. And in this country, we have continually under-valued women. Particularly women of color and particularly black women. So for us, and as a black woman, this is how we place value on who we are and what we bring into our society.

It’s not “just” about the dollars and cents.

Although, it is about the dollars and cents because if you can pay your bills, put some money in the bank, and transfer that wealth to the next generation then that’s critical and that helps to build what our society could look like. If we can start making sure that our women are paid for their worth in our society, it will show and reflect their value. And help them uphold a level of self-confidence they will carry into other aspects of their lives.

How can women be more involved in being a part of the change they want to see?

There is so much going on in life that feels completely overwhelming. And we often ask ourselves, ‘what can any one person do?’ and ‘what can I do because this feels like so much?’

Whether you’re registered to vote; whether you’re able to talk to your manager or supervisor; how you’re able to ask a question; or whether you’re able to mentor somebody, we want women to walk out of this room today knowing that there is something that they can do. And if everyone does something that adds up to a whole lot of things and that’s how we create the momentum for change.

What advice do you have for women as they fight to close the pay gap?

There are a couple of things that we have to come to terms with when we recognize that we’re going to be about making change happen:

  1. It does not happen overnight.
  2. We do not get to be tired. We have a responsibility to those shoulders that we stand on and those generations that come behind us. We have to step in, fight wholeheartedly, and do it with full honesty and integrity to who we are. And, we have to hold other people accountable.
  3. We have to engage with people one on one. We can’t just stand outside and scream at the air—we actually have to start talking with people.

When I think about this fight for pay equity, it is about at this moment in time us finally placing value on women of color. At this moment in time, it is about holding those [people in high places] accountable. This moment in time, it’s about opening the doors so that others can come in behind us and come in strong.


The post Black Women Can’t Wait 106 Years for Equal Pay appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


5 Ways to ‘Boss Up’ Your Career with These Career-Coaching Tips

According to Forbes, career coaching is a $ 2 billion, global industry. It seems you can’t sling a hashtag without finding a career coach online. This is partially due to the internet enabling the growth and popularity of the profession within the last 15 years. It is clear that digital and social media are driving the services that coaches offer.

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing a career coach on episode 14 of The Culture Soup Podcast. In speaking with Tristan Layfield, a recent BE Modern Man, I discovered that his role isn’t always about critiquing and improving résumés. He really has to be a social media expert with a strong grounding in what it means to manage one’s personal brand.

Layfield is a former recruiting manager at a Fortune 500 and currently a project manager at IBM. In his spare time, he was helping friends and family improve their résumés, and he noticed that they were actually snapping up the jobs they were after as a result. So, he decided to take his knack for résumé writing to another level by starting a business.

career coaching

Career Coach and Résumé Writer, Tristan Layfield. (Photo: Clyde Barnett III)

Layfield provided some very useful tips on improving your résumé, personal branding, and how to leverage LinkedIn and other social platforms so that a job hunter or even people who are happy in their current position but are looking to be more marketable can improve their searchability online.


5 Career Coaching Tips to ‘Boss Up’ Your Career

Focus: Understand what you really want to do.

The internet empowers us to research what we want to be when we grow up. Before we had robust search engines like Bing and Google, we were left to figure things like this out on our own, and mostly to no success. So, Layfield says, often people just remained stuck in whatever role they found themselves. The internet allows us to dream big, look into what it will take to achieve that dream, then execute against it. It’s a new day! Seize it.

Engage strategically on social media.

If you are one to shy away from being too vocal on social media, or perhaps you aren’t that great a writer, so content creation is something you’d rather stay away from, consider engaging with other people’s content instead. Layfield says that on platforms like LinkedIn, a simple “like” of someone’s content share or even a re-share can go a long way toward positioning yourself as a thought leader in any space. Just ensure the content always aligns with your personal brand.


Own your story.

Your uniqueness is your story, and it isn’t always pretty. People like authenticity, so sharing the learning experiences as well as the wins not only makes you more approachable, but it also makes you relatable. Layfield walks that talk by sharing about how he was fired from one job, which was a catalyst for him starting his own business. He says getting fired shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of because most people have experienced this in their careers at one time or the other.


Tailor your résumé to the job description.

This extremely smart and practical tip is one that many people overlook. Layfield says that before your résumé makes it to the recruiter, they use algorithms that search your document for certain keywords—words from the position description.  His suggestion is to ensure that your résumé has those words in it and often so that your résumé will not wind up in the “no” pile before it even sees human eyes.


Be your own best advocate.

In this highly-competitive, fast-moving, digital and cluttered world that we live in, it is no longer advised to wait for someone else to merchandise your work for you. Layfield advises his clients to be their own best advocates. That means it is OK to share your successes in a grounded and non-boastful way. He told the story of how he became a BE Modern Man.  When it came down to it, he nominated himself. He reasoned that he would either live up to the requirements or not; and why not practice what he preaches to his own clients. It resulted in a prestigious recognition. What if he hadn’t entered his name?

Listen to the entire episode on The Culture Soup Podcast.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 




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Career | Black Enterprise


Her Magic Moment: Meet the New President of Magic Johnson Enterprises

Christina Francis has made a lifelong habit of being a quiet power. The ability to lay low while doing great work, only to surge ahead at the finish, stunning her peers and competitors, has served her well. Most recently, it landed her in the lead at Magic Johnson Enterprises, where in January, she was named president.

Francis, who cut her teeth in business with strategic marketing roles at top companies including Walt Disney World, Nissan Motor Corporation, and IBM, wasn’t competing with anyone other than herself for the coveted position.

Ever since Johnson returned to the Lakers organization as president of basketball operations in February 2017, Francis has been effectively leading the company with Johnson still serving as chairman and CEO.

“Earvin had a grand plan and I just kept doing the work,” says Francis. Especially once her boss accepted the Lakers post, “He was very clear in letting me know he was ready for me to step out there, he just was waiting to see that I was ready. He’s been an amazing mentor and, yeah, I’m ready.”

Work Hard, Play Hard, Climb!

Francis first met Johnson in 2003, when she was an account manager at the multicultural advertising agency UniWorld Group, leading national campaigns for Lincoln Mercury. Johnson was impressed, and Francis was soon hired to market and run his 30 Burger King restaurants. Within two years, she was recruited by the Orange Bowl Committee to be chief marketing officer for the South Florida sports brand which, during her tenure there, logged record growth and visibility.

In 2010, Francis was tapped by the NFL Players Association to be vice president of marketing and events. In 2014, Johnson recruited Francis back to what was by then a burgeoning business empire with a growing portfolio of investments in companies focused on serving emerging multicultural communities. As senior vice president of marketing and communications at Magic Johnson Enterprises, the role brought together the broad range of experience Francis had cultivated throughout her career. It also spoke to her desire to serve a larger purpose, a core value in the New Orleans home where she was raised.

The youngest of six children, Francis earned her MBA from the University of New Orleans after majoring in political science and Spanish at HBCU Xavier University. Perhaps it was there that she perfected the art of flying under the radar.

“I was the one who sat in the back of the class, talking,” she says, laughing. “I was Christina on the yard, hanging out. But I took good notes and always had a good ear for mastering the concepts. No one knew I was headed to be valedictorian.”

Not only did Francis graduate as valedictorian in just three years, outside of her family, few were aware that she was a straight A student (save one B, in English Lit) and that her father was Norman Francis, the college’s storied president.

“I worked hard and I played hard,” Christina says of her school days. “I still do that here. When you’re doing something you love and believe in, its hard to identify what’s hard. I think the hardest part for me is, I’m actually kind of shy.”

Valuing Vision Over Visibility

The January announcement of her promotion sparked a heightened level of visibility that Francis is still processing. “It’s been the most humbling experience to have the texts, emails and LinkedIn responses,” says Francis. “I have been behind the scenes for years promoting my boss, promoting the company, the mission, and our progress. People who knew me weren’t surprised. People who didn’t were completely shocked because they had no idea what I did.”

Her transition has been seamless, underpinned by Johnson’s unqualified support. “Christina is a consummate professional and brilliant businesswoman,” the NBA legend said in a press release. “I trust her to continue growing this company to new heights and establishing new partnerships in the coming years.”

The company’s mission to do well while investing in emerging multicultural communities is sure, but Francis is still working through the rest.

“He’s put a lot in my hands” she says of her boss. “Right now I need to own where I am, and take stock of where I want the company to go. Earvin is open to change, he’s open to growth, he’s open to always finding ways to do things better. So I can’t tell you right now where you’ll see my imprint, but I know that’s why he placed me here.

“He trusts my vision,” Francis adds. “I do too.”

The post Her Magic Moment: Meet the New President of Magic Johnson Enterprises appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Black Female Executive Is a Mighty Force at Toyota: Her Story

BLACK ENTERPRISE recently revealed the upper ranks of female leadership at the nation’s largest public and private companies with the release of the 2019 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America list. One of the standouts found on this exclusive roster is Sandra Phillips Rogers, who manages an expansive portfolio at Toyota North America as group vice president, general counsel, chief legal officer, corporate secretary, and chief diversity officer.

Holding degrees in journalism and law, respectively, from the University of Texas at Austin, this brilliant legal eagle joined Toyota in 2012 after holding a series of high-powered positions at prestigious law firms and major corporations. Considered one of the company’s most valuable senior managers, she is routinely called upon to handle complex issues, ranging from global transactions and corporate inclusion to cybersecurity and intellectual property.

One of the cover subjects of our January-March Women of Power issue, Phillips Rogers shared with BE, among other details, her professional ascension and tips she gives mentees on achieving success in corporate America. The following are edited excerpts from that interview:

Throughout your career, you’ve repeatedly shifted from major corporations to high-powered law firms. Which environment did you find most rewarding?

Well, I think both have their advantages but working in a company gets you closer to the business, and that’s ultimately why my career has taken me to Toyota. When you realize as a lawyer that you have the ability to help shape the business strategy through your legal advice and then also as an executive understanding more about what some of the corporate priorities are and how you can help them achieve it, that synergy really is very exciting to me. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is when you work for a company, you’re a part of a much larger organization. I really like that. The opportunity to be a chief diversity officer, work on various community activities and be a part of how the company is going to, in the case of Toyota, transform into a mobility company, that’s all very, very exciting and satisfying. Of course, there’s the great people and great products that Toyota makes. So that’s also very, very attractive to me.



At Toyota, you serve not only as the chief legal officer but also oversee diversity. How did that dynamic evolve?

I’ll start by saying that I have been a champion of diversity and inclusion for many, many years under my legal umbrella. In 1999, I was a part of the first diversity committee at the law firm I was employed [with] at the time. It’s been a progression and a passion of mine…and frankly, an obligation I feel to help bring more diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. So when the opportunity to become the chief diversity officer presented itself, it was a natural fit for me because I’ve spent so many years moving diversity and inclusion forward in the legal profession, also within my legal team at Toyota and other organizations that I’ve been a part of. Now, it’s very exciting to do it for the entire company. It’s something I take quite seriously but it is a very big honor for me.

In terms of your legal career, what were the cases in which you were most proud?

As I look over my career, the things that I’m most proud of are issues where there was a lot at stake, a broad impact for my client in terms of not just the legal strategy but the business strategy. It was necessary to coordinate a large team to all work together, be on the same page, and have a common strategy. It wasn’t always easy bringing various interests together, but I’m most proud of that teamwork, of how we all came together to help try to solve a very important issue for the business, customers and various stakeholders in the community. That’s what really excites me: A big hairy problem which brings together people as a team and you help solve it.

As a woman professional, how did you navigate challenges to eventually reach your current senior-level position?

For me, it’s always been important to understand the challenge, and then apply what you know in the context of the culture of the company. I’ve worked in a lot of different organizations. One approach might work in one organization but might not work in another. I’ve always viewed a challenge as an opportunity to show and demonstrate my leadership and commitment to the organization. What was always fundamental is to find out where the landmines and pitfalls were because sometimes those can derail your activities before you even get going. I think the other piece is where diplomacy and respect for people come into play. Savviness, emotional intelligence. I think these are all things that have served me very well over my career. Sometimes folks want to just go boldly into the challenge. You have to step back and understand the environment, the culture, the people, and then you have to plan a strategy that takes all of that into consideration.

Who have been your mentors and how have they helped you decide on the career path you took?

The mentors I’ve had have fallen into five buckets. One would be a person who I would call your subject matter expert. They kind of show you the ropes and help you develop your chops in a particular area of expertise. The second is the navigator, someone who helps you see around corners, tells you where you may want to go for opportunity or what to avoid because it could potentially stifle your progress.

Of course, the sponsor is very, very important. These are individuals in my career who have been my bosses or other senior people of influence who can speak on my behalf and help connect me with opportunities. The other group of mentor is the personal mentor. These are my friends and people who know me well. Some are outside the organization; some are inside. They’re the ones who can tell me, “You know, Sandra. Run your presentation by me and I’ll tell you if I think that’s the right approach.” Maybe they can tell you about how to present yourself, whether it’s a dress or how you express yourself. The last group of mentors is what I call peer to peer. That’s mainly women of color I meet at conferences to just exchange stories and ideas.

So what’s your mentorship approach and what advice do you give your mentees?

First of all, I try to build a relationship to establish mutual trust so that they know that it’s safe to talk to me, open up and really get to the core of what it is that’s either troubling them or the dreams that they have. We can figure out how we can navigate to help get them there. But it’s really about seeing an opportunity to help move someone who’s already in a great place to an even better one. I try to give them the benefit of my experiences…what’s worked for me, what hasn’t worked for me. Then, I try to figure out where they are in their organization and help them navigate some of the politics and things they need to think about.

But I want to give them some practical tools to put in their kit so that they can go back and say, “OK. I need to approach my business presentations this way.” Or, “I need to make sure I make relationships with these people.” Or, “I need to make sure that I am going to volunteer so that I can develop power.” One of the things that has just been a very important part of my career development is building power outside of the organization. If you become a leader in your community or profession that can spill over into the workplace. People find out about you, and they say, “Oh, Sandra’s leading this great effort with United Way.” Sometimes, your bosses may see you in a very limited way but then they see you differently. My counsel: Build your power within but also outside of the organization.

Define your leadership style and how it evolved?

I always start with who I am as a person. I always start with being authentic, which I find helps enable the other aspects of being a good leader. Someone’s who’s trustworthy, someone that you can rely on. If you’re seen as being authentic, whether that means a strong leader, whether it means being courageous, whether it means being vulnerable, that’s really how you build your brand as a leader. The other important piece is external to you. It’s the people that you have on your team and how you empower them to succeed. I think the other part of it is just being what I call more of a servant leader, someone who models behavior and can inspire others to follow. Those are the best leaders because when times get tough, profits are down and you’re doing more with less, your ability to help move your team beyond that is going to be based on whether you’re seen as being a part of the solution, getting down with the team at the grassroots level and help do the work to bring the situation back around.

Vital to career ascension, especially for African American women, is being heard in various corporate settings. How did you develop your voice?

One of the things that is key is for everyone to know executives in a company are looking for people to help them solve problems or come up with the next great idea. If that’s the case, your voice is really the only way that that is going to happen. A lot of people will be paralyzed feeling that their voice isn’t important, no one will listen to me or I’ll say something wrong. Most senior executives are looking for ideas. Clearly, all of the ideas are not going to hit gold but you have to realize that your voice must be at that table in order to create this new pathway for business. When you realize that you’re needed, that gives you more confidence to speak up and articulate whatever it is that you feel is going to help the company succeed. It’s about confidence and not being afraid to fail. I think that that really stymies a lot of opportunity, coming from women and women of color. You just have to realize that your voice matters.



The post Black Female Executive Is a Mighty Force at Toyota: Her Story appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


How to Unlock Your Earning Power

The idea of being in control of your earning power is a huge draw for those looking to soar to new heights. Koereyelle DuBose, chief experience officer of WERKPraySlay, has been empowering women to live a life that they love through her work and annual summit WKND.

In just a few weeks, she’ll be joining BLACK ENTERPRISE in Atlanta for the launch of the SOAR Empowerment Series in partnership with TDJ Enterprises, where she’ll be speaking about taking your business to the next level.

In this interview, DuBose speaks about unlocking one’s earning power.

BLACK ENTERPRISE: How is earning power calculated?

DuBose: I always talk about work with an e (werk) because of the effort and the energy you dedicate to your own business. Your earning power is not defined by anyone outside of yourself. It’s the one thing when transitioning from being a full-time employee to a full-time entrepreneur that you are in control of. A lot of times, we think that it comes down to our credentials, degrees, or a specific skill set, but I have come across so many people with different gifts, skills, talents who have embraced the mindset that they have unlimited earning potential. That is how they created opportunities to create revenue and increase their earning potential.

What are the first steps to identifying a skill set that can be turned into a side hustle that can be monetized?

Make a list of your skills. I live by lists. Any time I am stuck on something or need clarity, I make lists. One of the lists that you can make is one of your skills. List the things that you are doing on a daily basis on your 9-to-5 and are transferable skills that you have extensive knowledge on. Those are some of the things that you can make side hustles of and generate revenue from. A lot of things that you can start a side hustle with may not be related to your degree or career but they can be things that you have skills in.

List out your passions. There are things that you’ve probably been doing since childhood, that you’ve been interested in, naturally good at, or passionate about. Think about your passions; what you’re naturally drawn to; and how can you combine your talents and service or product that you can provide that’s aligned with the things that you already know how to do and you’re already interested in. I find that when we develop a business that we’re actually excited and passionate about, it will propel us when the obstacles come up and you truly have to fight for what you want.

Can you speak more about how people can leverage who they are to tap into more earning power?

Authenticity is something that I truly want to represent. You can carve out your own lane and live a successful life beyond society’s standards doing things your own way while being able to make money, be happy, and live life on your own terms. I think for entrepreneurs it’s scary to be authentic…especially in the world of social media and reality TV when you only want people to know the good stuff. I had no choice but to be authentic. No matter what it is that I’m offering my people trust me and I think it’s because of that authenticity piece.

What advice do you have for people to unlock their earning power today?

Read the book, The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn. It will help you set a solid foundation for your personal or professional growth.

Get real about where you are right now versus where you want to be. From there you can create an action plan for how you’re going to get there.

Find an accountability partner. Share your goal and ask for them to check in with you and hold you accountable.

Meditate. We’re living in an age where we have access to too much information. And a lot of people look outside of themselves for answers. I’ve found that when I meditate that’s when God gives me my answers instead of looking outside of myself for all of the answers.

If you want to learn more from DuBose, join BLACK ENTERPRISE at the SOAR Empowerment Series in Atlanta on April 6. Click here to register.

The post How to Unlock Your Earning Power appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Meet the Black Pilot Teaching Kids How To Fly

The fear of flying (aviophobia) keeps many people from experiencing traveling. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 6.5% of the U.S. population has a fear of flying and 25% have flight anxiety.

Raymond Smith, founder of R.E.P. (Redefining, Empowering, and Preparing) U NYC, a non-profit agency that provides free educational programming for underprivileged youth in the New York area, was one of those people until an unpredictable career move forced him to step out of his comfort zone and into an aircraft as an in-flight crew member for a major airline, and ultimately overcome his fear of flying. It also sparked his interest to get into the cockpit and learn how to fly.

“After getting over my fear of flying and seeing pilots at work, I thought to myself ‘I can do this!’” Smith said. “I asked some of the pilots what should my first steps to becoming a pilot be. They said go on a discovery flight and get used to being in a small airplane. I went on two discovery flights and the first time I was scared sh*tless. But through it all, I started the process of looking for flight schools to start training,”

black pilot

Ambition can help you overcome fear

Months later, Smith dedicated 105 hours in the Poconos, at Moyer Aviation, where he received his pilot’s certificate also known as a private pilot license.

His inspiration was to teach black and brown kids how to fly and overcome any fear of flying.

“Once I started flight school, I knew that once I got my instructors license that I was going to take kids on flights and teach lessons at some point. But the actual idea of a full-fledged flight program came from one of my fraternity brothers who said my idea was bigger than I originally imagined it. He heard about all the hurdles of flight school and how expensive it is and because of my passion I should be the one to start something to make it easier for kids who don’t have any type of access to this,” said Smith.

Ever since that conversation, he has been able to take 10 kids to new heights, and now Smith is fundraising in efforts to expand his programming.

“We are currently fundraising to buy an aircraft to offset our operating expenses to ensure that our flight program will remain free for kids. We are also selling sponsorship packages for organizations to sponsor flying hours for the youth.”

The commitment to take kids to new heights 

Through social media marketing efforts, Smith has been able to garner support nationwide as the importance of creating unique opportunities for black and brown kids resonates with many.

“People in our communities often only go on a commercial flight a hand full of times. And very few think they can fly an airplane in their lifetime. Recreational flying is fun and it offers a different option than public transportation or driving. Flying on a bright sunny day is a euphoric feeling everyone should experience,” says Smith.

In addition to flying, Smith plans to continue to programming through R.E.P. U NYC and encourages black men to give back.


“Take time out of your day to show children the way. Often times we get caught up in lecturing about our experiences and pitfalls to avoid. As the age old adage goes ‘I’d rather see a sermon, than hear one any day’.”

The post Meet the Black Pilot Teaching Kids How To Fly appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Meet the Black Woman Promoted by Elon Musk to Lead Diversity at Tesla

Executives leading the charge in diversity and inclusion are leaning more towards the practice of belonging to create more inclusive work environments. Felicia Mayo, vice president of HR & head of diversity at Tesla is one of those leaders. Her journey as a human resources professional spans over two decades with executive HR roles at PwC, Oracle, and Juniper Networks. After working 19 years in Silicon Valley, she was sought out by Tesla and promoted by its founder Elon Musk to lead their HR and diversity initiatives.

It was a simple as a phone call from someone in her network who knew she could add to and elevate the way Tesla handles business when it comes to belonging.

Business Leader Versus Diversity Leader

After getting an inside look into the company and the interviewing process, Mayo decided she wanted to engage in diversity and inclusion holistically by looking at the total business of Tesla and being able to see where she could leverage her tools which include, but aren’t limited to, HR technology, operations, compensation benefits, business strategy, and talent acquisitions.

“Once you see diversity as an add-on or a program, you fail. And that definitely is something that I’ve always tried to stay clear of them, making sure that I am seeing not just seen as this diversity and belonging or inclusive leader that I’m seen as a business leader,” said Mayo.

“Coming in as a business leader versus just as a diversity leader allowed me to have different connections with different leaders as well as it allowed me to really grow my career here at Tesla really quickly. I could be leveraged in many different ways,” says Mayo.

It was just after a year and a half at the company that Musk promoted her from senior HR director and head of diversity and inclusion to VP of the role where she reports directly and works closely with Musk and vice president Kevin Kassekert.

“Allowing Tesla employees, regardless of their demographic, to feel like they belonged to the staff, is the mission of the company, and the strategy of the future of the company is monument. And ultimately means allowing them to bring their whole selves to work every day and feeling like they belong in the workforce.”

Bringing Her ‘Whole Self’ to Work and Confronting Tesla’s Racism Allegations

As a person of color, in some tech spaces, feeling like you belong is a challenge, however, adding the automotive industry to the mix can make things more complex. That is why Mayo practices showing up to work as her authentic self to set the standard.

“I am who I am. I am Felicia. And that does not change when I walked through the door. So when you see me outside of Tesla, I am Felicia. It is refreshing to be able to work within a workforce and a company where belonging is about bringing my whole self to work.”

Despite reports that suggest a number of past black employees faced racism and discrimination at Tesla, Mayo says people within their workforce belong to the mission of contributing to the future of the world; and Tesla takes training its workforce from the top down seriously.

“I’ve even volunteered to dress in my performance wear and have worked in the factory as well as in our delivery locations just to be able to experience and see what is really occurring,” says Mayo who enforces a zero tolerance policy for discrimination.

“Diversity and inclusion is the need to sit down and have those conversations and we’ve had those conversations internally,” she adds.

In addition to being a champion for change, she is invested in creating a pipeline for young people into the tech automotive industry. The Tesla START program gives students at community colleges 12 weeks of technical automotive hands-on experience and the opportunity to be hired by the company.

“It is a way to have a pipeline of individuals regardless of background, regardless of what you know, or your trade. We want to make sure we offer up opportunities to all different types of pipelines to be able to come here to Tesla,” says Mayo.

Mayo’s Advice: Remain Open to New Possibilities

Beyond her daily responsibilities, Mayo believes wellness in the workplace is just as important as belonging and says it starts with self. In fact, meditation is what keeps her firmly rooted.

“I have to be balanced to make just and fair decisions every day. It’s really meditation; being grounded with my friends; staying grounded with my team here; my family most importantly; and being able to share some of the unfiltered fun times with them, and really going hard in those areas that keeps me on my game.”

Mayo’s advice for others to stay on top of their game is to remain open to new possibilities.

“Never be so firm on the plans that you have for yourself. I would’ve never said ‘I’m going to be an executive leader in Silicon Valley.’ I didn’t even know to dream that big. So I just went with where my journey was taking me and it was uncomfortable sometimes. So I also learned to be okay with being uncomfortable because typically if you’re uncomfortable that means that you’re moving in the right direction.”


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Career | Black Enterprise


Gloria Boyland, One of The Most Powerful Women in Corporate America, Drives Innovation At FedEx

BLACK ENTERPRISE recently unveiled our roster of the Most Powerful Women in Corporate America, identifying the highest-ranking female executives of the nation’s largest corporations and honoring this business elite at our 14th annual Women of Power Summit. Included among the three executives representative of this group featured on the cover of our January-March issue was Gloria Boyland, corporate VP, operations and service support for FedEx Corp., which provides millions across the globe with a range of transportation, commerce and business services.


The Savannah, Georgia native, who holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, joined FedEx in 2004 as vice president of service experience and quality in which she coordinated a range of company-wide improvement initiatives, among other areas, before rising to her current position. The following are Boyland’s responses to questions on her innovative role, career journey and advice to young professionals seeking to advance to corporate leadership:

Share with us your role as corporate vice president, operations and service support? In working with members of FedEx’s Strategic Management Committee, how do you help drive innovation and improvement throughout the organization?

As corporate vice president of operations and service support for FedEx Corporation, I am responsible for the evaluation and leadership of priority advanced operations technology initiatives, service quality improvements, customer experience improvements, and new service offerings for the company.

Technology advancements, digitalization, and the explosive growth of e-commerce require companies like FedEx to respond rapidly to rising customer expectations in a cost-effective manner. My role in the innovation space is comprised of three key parts: 1) I work closely with the members of the FedEx Strategic Management Committee to define key strategic opportunities; 2) I scan the technology space to identify optimal technology partners; and 3) I lead initiatives to achieve speed and scale, such as the recently announced FedEx SameDay Bot.

Define Quality Driven Management and how that approach is a part of the company’s DNA?

Quality Driven Management, or QDM in short, is the secret sauce to the way we work at FedEx. QDM provides a set of common principles and methods that unleashes the creativity of our worldwide team of more than 450,000 team members as we deliver on our Purple Promise to “make every FedEx experience outstanding.”  QDM is like a universal translator – no matter which global region, function or title a team member has, QDM instills in us the passion and commitment to improve customer experience and business performance.

What is it like to work with FedEx founder and CEO Fred Smith? What lessons have you learned from him? How has that relationship impacted you from a professional and personal standpoint?

Mr. Smith is an amazing, transformational leader who inspires and motivates his team to perform at high levels.  He founded FedEx on a “people first” philosophy 45 years ago, and that strong corporate culture continues to be deeply embedded across the organization today. He believes that every one of our more than 450,000 team members across the globe is a vital link in the chain of success. I have learned from him how absolutely critical it is to foster loyalty, the customer’s experience and an entrepreneurial spirit with each team member.

We would like insight into your professional evolution during your formative years. What led to your interest in technology and logistics? Who and what served as your inspiration in the field? Who were your mentors?

 Over the years, I have sought and received advice and counsel from family, friends and colleagues, including my own leadership chain and the many team members who make up my organization. Research has shown that diversity of perspective is not only essential to business success, but also to personal success. I have gained perspective from the myriad of people who have mentored me throughout my career and each one was valuable in their own unique way.

 Define your management style and guiding principles.

 My direct reports are vice presidents who lead their own organizations, so I embrace a coaching management style. My team plays a vital role in the success of my overall organization – everyone matters.  At FedEx, we have adopted a new program called Coach Forward, which focuses on enhancing work performance and motivation.

I have three guiding principles: Each day, recommit to doing your best and being your best; say: do ratio must be 1:1; and, step back so others can step up. These principles ensure success and a sense of accomplishment.

BLACK ENTERPRISE has appropriately named you as one of our Most Powerful Women in Corporate America. As such, what have been some of the challenges that you faced as a woman in your career journey? How have overcoming them shaped you as a business leader?

One of my biggest personal challenges has been maintaining confidence in the midst of setbacks. It has taught me to persevere and to trust my instincts in the face of doubt from others. Persistence and patience, I have learned, are necessary as one struggles to attain and maintain relevance in the organization.  Now, as a business leader, I am confident in my decisions. I learned to find my own voice and trust in my capabilities and experience.

Provide us with your views of the state of diversity in the tech industry? How can more African American women, in particular, make gains in reaching top leadership positions in the corporate sector?

Women and minorities have a presence in the technology industry, but continue to be underrepresented as leadership roles are dominated by white and Asian men. In 2017, women made up about 26 percent of the tech industry, and black women were just 3 percent of that overall number. Leading by example, then creating opportunities for black women is the strategy for increasing our representation. We need to inspire and engage.

Leaders such as Shirley Ann Jackson at FedEx, Linda Johnson Rice at Tesla, and Debra Lee at Twitter, exemplify the importance of representation and influence through corporate board oversight and governance. Innovators like Stephanie Lampkin, founder of Blendoor, and Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code, are executing the grassroots approach. Stephanie founded Blendoor to help eliminate racial bias in hiring. She is also publishing a data-driven report, BlendScore, which will rate companies on diversity and inclusion.

Maya Angelou said it well, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.”  Inspiration and engagement will ignite change.

What advice do you give young professionals who aspire to achieve leadership positions in corporate America?

Be brave. Take some risk. Someone once told me never to take on a role that wasn’t fully established with a clear career path and accountabilities. I have done the exact opposite and it has served me well. We all have different paths to success. Find the path that suits you. Along the way, you’ll find people who will champion you and willingly help lift you up.


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Career | Black Enterprise


A Black Man’s View: 5 Ways To Be A Better Male Ally In The Workplace

#MeToo, #TimesUp, and terminations of high-profile executives accused of sexual misconduct has spurned a conversation among some men asking, “How can we promote gender equity in the workplace?” Here are five ways we as men can make work environments safer and more inclusive for everyone. These tips can help a man be a better ally in the workplace.

5 Ways To Be A Better Male Ally In The Workplace

Don’t ask her out

At work we interact with many different people. We may have similar interests with some women — get along and become friends. As we socialize, feelings may grow and you could start viewing her romantically. Full stop. Most women do not come to work to get a date. This is not the bar. Don’t ask for her number. She is not there to be objectified. Keep it professional.

Do not talk over her

Many times in a meeting, a man will take over the conversation and interrupt a woman when she is speaking. Whether intentional or not, this is a malicious act which sends a message that her contributions are not important and hold little value. We need to stop doing this. Let her talk and finish her thought. You can wait.

Do not gaslight

A woman’s experience in the workplace will always be different than ours. From subtle microaggressions to blatant harassment, her existence in a business environment is full of challenges we cannot imagine. This is why it is important for men to believe our female coworkers when they say they have been victims of abuse. Believe her when she says someone has been harassing her. Do not downplay it and tell her it is something she imagined. In doing so, you create a distrustful work environment by not encouraging other women to come forward.

No foul language

One of the best things a man can do when he hears misogynistic and sexist remarks from other men is to push back. Gently, but firmly, tell them those type of comments are not OK. It creates a hostile work environment, which helps no one. We need to let our fellow male coworkers know this is not acceptable, nor is the workplace the setting for that kind of language.

Hire more women

In my time in IT, there has always been an overwhelmingly male environment. I would always wonder why aren’t their more women working in technology? The simple answer is because we are not hiring them. Evia, a virtual event solutions company conducted a poll and found that women hold only 20% of tech jobs. In order for us to make the work environment more balanced and different points of view found, we as men need to hire more women.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

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Career | Black Enterprise


How To Become Visible Through Personal Branding in the Social Age

For some professionals, personal branding is a must—while for others it seems like a distraction in this social age. But we can assure you that it’s not. Being visible in this digital era no matter what industry you work in or your level of expertise is extremely critical for your professional and personal brand. In other words, if you want to shine where you are or want to level up, you have to position yourself to be seen on and offline.

Jacqueline Jones, head of Strategic Partnerships at LinkedIn; Rita Mitjans, chief diversity & corporate social responsibility officer at ADP; Monica W. Peterson, director of Affiliate Vehicle Planning and Pricing Product Planning & Strategy at Toyota Motor North America Inc.; and Yolanda Murphy, vice president of Communications at Northrop Grumman Technology Services dived deeply into how women can present their best-selves during the 14th Annual Women of Power Summit.

personal branding

The Visible Woman: Personal Branding in a Social Age panel at the Women of Power Summit

First things first, your online portfolio whether it’s your personal website or LinkedIn holds more value than you think.

“Make sure that you are able to articulate and present the brand that you want others to see. Social media gives you the power to represent yourself the way you want to be,” said Mitjans.

To that point, Peterson said, “be intentional about what your LinkedIn profile has in there.”

Use Social Platforms to Your Advantage:

  • Update your profile picture
  • Be clear about who you are, what you do, and the value you add in your biography
  • Make sure that your information is accurate and up to date
  • Share your expertise by blogging, engaging with other thought leaders, and sharing articles

It’s been said that the best time to look for a new job is on the first day of your new job, but, when it comes to personal branding and job searching that same logic does not apply. “You don’t just update LinkedIn when you’re looking for new jobs,” Peterson added.

And Jones couldn’t agree more as a leader at LinkedIn. She believes that social platforms give people of color the opportunity to tap into economic power.

Consistency is also key

“If your employers can see your profile and it represents a different person than you bring to work every day, you need to re-evaluate what you’re posting,” said Peterson.

Murphy got serious about personal branding in 2014 when she realized how important it was to tell her story.

“What I’ve come to learn is that it’s a form of currency. For example, look at your savings account…you’re investing so that you can get something back in return – a return on your investment. Your personal brand is no different. It’s something that is returning dividends to you and your company or those who you choose to do business with.”

Another tactic Murphy uses to manage her brand is to be selective about what she shares publicly. This allows her to engage in topics she wants to be a part of and those that serve her personal brand.

“I’ll talk about my kids, I’ll talk about communications. I don’t talk about money, faith, or politics. I set boundaries for what I will and will not talk about,” she added.

Personal branding in the social age also lends itself to the opportunity to build relationships offline so that you can land different opportunities.

“Partner with corporate communications. Pitch corporate comms your story and why you would be a great representative and how your story exemplifies what they are trying to say,” said Jones.

The general consensus when it comes to personal branding is to craft your narrative, share it, and shine! Finding the right strategy for your personal brand online comes with time but you can get started today with this expert advice.



The post How To Become Visible Through Personal Branding in the Social Age appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Adtalem Global Education CEO Lisa Wardell on Being Intentional In Your Career

Lisa Wardell is the president and CEO of Adtalem Global Education and is on the 2019 Black Enterprise “The Most Powerful Women in Corporate America” list. Wardell is the only black women CEO of an S&P 500 company. 

Intentionality is a term we hear frequently in business, but it’s originally a philosophical term. It’s defined as “the quality of mental states (e.g., thoughts, beliefs, desires, hopes) that consists in their being directed toward some object or state of affairs.” To me, that means purposefully putting thoughts into actions to drive measurable results.

I have attempted to be intentional in my career by performing well in my current position, and by consistently seeking feedback and incorporating that guidance into my professional life. I seek out mentors to help me build my leadership skills, and use sponsors to assist me in advancing my career. I also set goals for one, three, and five years out, and regularly revisit those goals to keep myself on track.

As the president and CEO of Adtalem Global Education, I have the opportunity to practice intentionality on a much larger stage, leading a nearly $ 3 billion organization of 18,000 people. I seek intentionality on three focus areas: creating a performance culture, effecting diversity and inclusion, and solidifying our mission-driven focus. Measurement is an important part of being intentional, and in creating a performance culture to meet our objectives, I’ve tied executive compensation to both diversity and inclusion outcomes and to the pursuit of top talent; for top talent is intentional about their own performance and in leading teams that do so with the organization’s mission in view.

Intentionality in our three focus areas is reflected in our financial performance—Adtalem’s stock price has more than tripled in 2.5 years—and intentionality is reflected in our leading education policies, academic standards, and life-long learning programs that contribute to the global workforce in a meaningful way.

Active intentionality isn’t always easy to accomplish; even CEOs get push back. When I said I wanted every recruiting search to include ethnically diverse candidates, I was told there may not be enough qualified candidates to accomplish that goal. Of course, we know better and our organization reflects it. Our board of directors is now 44% African American and 67% combined women and people of color (POC). The Adtalem leadership team has gone from nominally diverse to 40% POC, 47% women, and 80% combined. And our pipeline of talent for future leaders is deep and growing. Recruiting is aided because talented, diverse candidates flock to a talented and diverse workforce.

While there is always more to do as Adtalem drives toward its global education mission, I’m proud our team’s intentionality is delivering improved performance by a workforce that’s reflective of those we serve in global education. Acting intentionally holds power and promise: the power to achieve our professional and organizational goals, and the promise of building stronger global communities.

The post Adtalem Global Education CEO Lisa Wardell on Being Intentional In Your Career appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Most Powerful Women in Corporate America

A black woman may not be the image that comes to mind for most people when they hear corporate power—and it certainly won’t be the result of a Google search—but around here, we know better. Women of color are remaking the face of leadership teams and C-suites at corporations across the country and around the globe.

So we’re celebrating the fearless female executives who have managed both to stand firm in the face of hostile corporate environments and to take the bull by the metaphorical horns, powering their careers to the top.

The recent Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey and LeanIn showed that black women receive the least support of all women (and significantly less support than men) from their managers, with just 35% reporting that their managers create opportunities for them to showcase their work, promote their contributions to others, or socialize with them outside of work. 

So how have dozens of black women overcome these obstacles to make it to the top of the corporate ladder? By owning their power, of course.

“Take ownership for your own career,” says Tracey Travis, CFO of Estée Lauder.

“You have an opportunity of readying yourself and expressing an interest in those areas that the management team is looking at in terms of valued experience and trying to build relationships with the folks that run those areas to make yourself more known.”

The 136 women on the roster make up our largest ever list of the crème of the crop of the most powerful black women in corporate America. They have succeeded by leading with performance, deeply understanding their company culture, deftly navigating the corporate landscape, and—above all—wisely wielding their power to determine their own destiny.



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Divisional CEOs

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Powerful Executives

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Executives must meet the following criteria to make our roster:
  • Hold companywide and industrywide influence, each list member represents the highest-ranking executives among the following universes:
    • 1,000 largest publicly traded companies
    • 100 largest international companies with significant U.S. operations
    • S&P 500 companies
    • Largest privately held companies and institutions
    • Each executive has a direct impact on ensuring their corporations are market leaders and/or play a vital leadership role in revenue generation, profitability, market share, and strategic development. As such, they hold top-tier and executive officer positions of the entire enterprise; oversee major global, national, and regional subsidiaries and divisions; and maintain significant budget authority. Positions include those with oversight of operations, sales, marketing, talent, technological infrastructure, and product development.
  • Each executive reports directly to the CEO, COO, or the executive management team or hold positions on corporate board committees.
  • Top-tier executives who serve as corporate officers or members of the senior leadership team.
  • Women who hold C-suite positions including CEO (chief executive officer); COO (chief operating
    officer); CFO (chief financial officer); CAO (chief administrative officer); CIO/CTO (chief information
    officer/chief technology officer); or another top designation on the corporate leadership
    team, senior management group, executive committee, or corporate board. Those who hold the
    positions of Chief Compliance Officer; Chief Legal Officer and/or General Counsel and Chief Human
    Resource Officer are included. Other titles include president, general manager, executive vice
    president, or other such high-ranking positions. Using our research and reporting, BE may have
    also chosen executives based on their decision-making clout and influence within a given sector
  • All executives have held their positions as of Dec. 1, 2018.

Executives who have been excluded from our list:

  • Non-executive corporate directors—regardless of board position including chairman and lead director.
  • Executives who manage local and statewide divisions.
  • Executives who work for government agencies and entities under full government control.
  • Regardless of inclusion on the executive committee, leading executives with sole responsibility for staff functions such as corporate communications, corporate affairs, investor relations, public affairs, public policy, media relations, and community affairs.
  • Although vital to global business overall, CEOs and top executives from the BE 100s—the nation’s largest black businesses—were not included. (BE has separate rankings for the BE 100s.)

The post Most Powerful Women in Corporate America appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Are Black People Hindering Diversity and Inclusion Progress?

In January, BLACK ENTERPRISE posted an article that featured one of my Facebook posts “16 Things Black People Do to Annoy White People.” Social media tried to rip it apart. For the first time in my life, I pissed a lot of black people off.

Let’s rewind: I have spent my entire career giving black people a voice and fighting for diversity and inclusion.

Fast-forward to now: It was extremely disheartening that one of my first national forays on a black platform was negatively received, especially by black people. The article didn’t offer the context around my post, so out of context, the meaning was lost. I’m a rational person with 20-plus years in diversity and communications. So the first thing I did was go to social media to put context to the article to explain why I was compiling the information. To many — it made sense, but I soon realized many more did not care about the rationale behind the post.

The Post

In case you missed it, my original post asked white people what black people do that irritate them. I didn’t ask black people the same question because I have been black for 45 years. I have a pretty good grasp on what those things are, but I do realize black people are not all the same. I have held many forums and conversations with thousands of us to understand our different thoughts and feelings. Also, having worked in this field for as long as I have, I was pretty sure I knew the answers white people would have, but that is a part of the problem. We “think” we know how each race feels without actually speaking with them to gain understanding. After asking a few white people around the office, I posted it to see what kind of responses it would elicit.

Emotions got heated on Facebook, but it got ridiculous after BE posted it. Radio personality and actor D.L. Hughley retweeted without much comment, and from there it blew up. I was called a coon. My mother was called a coon. I was another black woman looking for a white savior. I was bringing down the entire black race by providing a platform for white people to be racist in telling us how they feel. The white people who did answer my post by sharing their thoughts were harassed, ridiculed, and disrespected.

I was hotter than fish grease. Nobody disrespects mom. Once I calmed down, I took some time to think. I was left with one burning question: Do people of color (mainly black people) bear some responsibility in hindering the progress of diversity and inclusion?

Before you get pissed off again hear me out. I know that unconscious bias plays a huge part in people of color not getting hired for jobs or earning promotions. As a diversity expert, I know systemic racism is a part of many companies and that inclusive cultures don’t truly exist. This means many of us still don’t have a voice to share ideas, to provide meaningful collaboration, or to act in opposition to how we feel.

How are Blacks Hindering Progress?

By now you’re saying, if you know all that, how is it that we are hindering progress? Regardless of how we feel, it will never be all about us. If we don’t figure out how to meet people where they are, we will continue to stifle our inclusive growth. This growth can transfer into a skill set that would enable you to have a stronger voice at work, with family and in valued relationships. It is imperative to know what others are thinking. Not because you need to validate their feelings, but because learning how each other thinks can bring about strategic change or at the very least, let you know where you stand in someone else’s mind.

If we are to move the needle toward inclusion, we cannot let the stereotypical, angry responses define us. If we do, then who are we? And how do we have open conversations with others, if we allow our emotions to overtake our good sense and humanity? A simple mental paradigm shift can make the difference in acquiring a new skill, but this won’t happen overnight. So I invite you to take this journey with me as we talk through the difficult conversations. Follow me at #RishaTalks to stay tuned and add to the conversation.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.

The post Are Black People Hindering Diversity and Inclusion Progress? appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Business Titan Ken Chenault Opens Up About His Legacy and Career [VIDEO]

Kenneth I. Chenault, one of the most dynamic business leaders in modern times, opens up about his journey to the top of the corporate ladder in a televised interview produced by The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history archives.

The former CEO of American Express retired in February 2018 after 16 years of leading the financial company’s innovation, transformation, and growth as chief executive. Under his leadership, American Express earned global recognition as a leader in customer service while its signature Membership Rewards program grew into one of the largest customer loyalty programs in the world. BLACK ENTERPRISE first discovered and profiled Chenault in the December 1985 issue and has followed his ascent and career milestones ever since.

Since announcing his resignation, Chenault has extended his business savvy expertise to the boards of corporate giants like Airbnb and Facebook. He also joined venture capital firm General Catalyst as chairman and a managing director last year.

An Evening With Ken Chenault

In November, Chenault spoke openly about his career and legacy with CBS sportscaster James “J.B.” Brown during a live taping at The New York Times Center in New York City. The program, titled An Evening with Ken Chenault, provides a rare inside look into his life and rise to the head of one of the world’s most successful companies. “My most important legacy that I can leave is that I made a meaningful difference in people’s lives. I hope I have been a catalytic agent for change,” he said. “I firmly believe that none of us should be satisfied by the status quo—you should always try to change the status quo.”

The hourlong program also includes exclusive interviews with business luminaries who’ve been directly inspired by Chenault’s leadership, including Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Merck CEO Kenneth C. Frazier, and Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr.

“He is a leader, he is competitive, and he is smart,” said Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, while describing Chenault. “The real test of leadership is when you go up the mountain and your troops follow you. They follow you because they believe in you and they believe you do see the value over the top mountain. If they don’t see it, they will still follow.”

Julieanna Richardson, the founder and president of The HistoryMakers, said in a statement that Chenault’s story has been “overlooked for far too long and deserves to be highlighted.” She added, “it is critical to show the world that African Americans have had an active role to play in both entrepreneurship and in corporate America.”

An Evening with Ken Chenault airs on PBS local station WNET on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. EST. It can also be viewed online. Watch below.

The post Business Titan Ken Chenault Opens Up About His Legacy and Career [VIDEO] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Serena Williams Serves Up Another Directorship: She Joins Poshmark’s Board of Directors

Serena Williams is flexing her influential muscles by adding another directorship under her belt—she has joined the board of directors of online social retail and reselling platform, Poshmark. This is Williams’s second directorship. In 2017, she joined the board of the online survey giant, SurveyMonkey.

The entrepreneur and sports icon is the first African American and first woman on Poshmark’s board. She will help guide the social commerce company in its plans for increased growth.

Poshmark announced her appointment to their board of directors on Wednesday, with founder and CEO Manish Chandra championing Williams as a welcome addition and a great fit for the company given her entrepreneurial prowess and passion.

“Poshmark was built by a community of strong, independent women just like Serena Williams,” said Manish Chandra, founder & CEO of Poshmark in a press release. “As both our company and community continue to grow, it’s important that we bring smart and diverse new voices to the table, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about what the future holds with Serena in our corner.”

The California-based online marketplace is powered by a community of 40 million people selling and buying used items. The platform currently hosts more than 75 million listings and also serves as a place where users can showcase their personal style. Since its founding in 2011, Poshmark says that it has distributed over $ 1 billion to its community of sellers.

Williams launched her own clothing line, SERENA, in 2018. This launch put her on Poshmark’s radar for potential involvement, and the company envisioned her to be a natural fit as it scales up its social commerce platform. Williams also saw this as an opportunity to make yet another impact.

“Poshmark is disrupting retail by making shopping and selling social again, and I love working with a company that gives anyone an opportunity to become an entrepreneur,” Williams said in a press release.

In a video about the announcement, Williams said she is excited to join Poshmark because the company speaks to her core values. “For me it was a no-brainer,” she said. Williams stated that she was already a Poshmark user for years, mostly as a buyer. But now she will officially become a seller on the platform.

In addition to joining Poshmark’s board, she is also launching a Posh Closet for Charity, benefiting the nonprofit she started in 2016, The Yetunde Price Resource Center, based in her Compton, California, hometown.

It’s a cause that’s dear to her: Empowering victims of violence by enabling them to receive access to resources that foster healing, resiliency, personal growth and transformation. The Yetunde Price Resource Center, the namesake of the Williams’s oldest sister, Yetunde, who was tragically killed by an act of violence in 2003, works with partner organizations to offer trauma-informed programs, including health and mental health providers, schools, and art therapy.

Fans will have the opportunity to shop clothing worn by Williams in her Posh Closet for Charity, including the floral kimono she wore to the 2017 French Open, dresses worn on the red carpet, a custom-made Gucci jacket, and many more items.

She will be donating all of her proceeds to the Yetunde​ ​Price Resource Center​. Those interested in shopping Serena’s closet, can check out​.

Below, see the reasons behind why Serena feels strongly about the company as she and Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra sit down to discuss her appointment to the board.

The post Serena Williams Serves Up Another Directorship: She Joins Poshmark’s Board of Directors appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Rosalind Brewer to Sit on Amazon’s Board

CNN is reporting that Amazon has named Rosalind Brewer, the current chief operating officer of Starbucks, and one of the most influential black women corporate executives, to its board. The news was revealed in a recent SEC filing. Brewer is only the second African American woman to sit on the company’s board in its 25-year existence; the first was Myrtle Potter, who served on the board from 2004 to 2009.

Brewer made history in 2012 when she was named as the president and CEO of Sam’s Club, becoming the first African American woman to be named as a CEO at one of Walmart’s divisions. Brewer announced her retirement from that role in January and joined Starbucks’ board. Shortly thereafter, she was appointed COO of the coffee chain.

Brewer was also listed on BLACK ENTERPRISE‘s 2015 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America and spoke at the 2013 BE Women of Power Summit.

A Personality for Business

The Detroit native and youngest of five children graduated from Spelman College in 1984 with a chemistry degree and thoughts of pursuing a career in optometry. Yet, she built a reputation as a strong consumer packaged goods professional at Kimberly-Clark Corp., maker of brand-name consumer products such as Kleenex and Huggies.

“I started out as an organic chemist for Kimberly-Clark, but during the interviewing process I really wanted to get into the business side,” she said in a 2012 interview with BE. “At the time, they were starting a research and development group in the Atlanta area and I decided to go with my discipline to just get the job. But I realized with my personality and how I interacted with teams that I had the ability to be more on the business side.”

In 2004, Brewer became president of Kimberly-Clark’s Global Nonwoven Sector, gaining oversight of manufacturing plants in Korea, Australia, Latin America, the U.K., and the United States. Her team focused on streamlining manufacturing operations and driving product innovations with commercial brands such as Huggies and Pull-Ups diapers and Kotex feminine products. The result: sales grew 28% from $ 900 million in 2003 to $ 1.15 billion in 2005.

Taking a Career Risk

In 2006, Brewer made a risky career move. She accepted an offer to join Walmart—a company in transition at the time, with falling sales and an embattled reputation, particularly around diversity practices.

By 2010, Walmart’s senior management realigned the organization to focus on consumer engagement and increasing scale; it grouped U.S. operations into three distinct areas. Brewer was tapped as president of its Eastern business unit, responsible for generating $ 110 billion in revenue through the operation of 1,600 stores—from Puerto Rico to Maine—and the management of nearly 500,000 associates. Her next promotion would make history. After Brian Cornell resigned as head of Walmart’s Sam’s Club subsidiary, Brewer was installed as president and CEO of Walmart’s Sam’s Club, a $ 53.8 billion division representing 12% of Walmart’s business

Upon the announcement of Brewer’s appointment to Sam’s Club, one of the first congratulatory calls she received was from another powerful executive, Ursula Burns, the former chairman and CEO of Xerox Corp.

“She probably doesn’t know how much I idolize her. I wasn’t breathing while I was speaking to her on the phone,” Brewer said at the time.

“She spent time telling me some of the pitfalls and how to manage myself and how to say no to certain things.” Burns, the only African American woman to run one America’s largest publicly traded corporations, also invited the newly minted CEO to her offices for some extended mentoring.

When Brewer decided to change industries, becoming a CEO was never her goal. She has always been professionally driven by a need for autonomy and an ability to make an impact within an organization. After more than two decades at Kimberly-Clark, she hit a dead end. Brewer recalls: “I knew I needed to do something totally different. I wanted to test out the things that I’d learned. After 22 years you’re usually in a silo and jump out of desperation. I didn’t realize how prepared I was until I did it.”


Editor’s Note: This article was revised on Feb. 8, 2019, to correct the original headline and text, which incorrectly noted Rosalind Brewer as the first black woman appointed to Amazon’s board. Myrtle Potter, who served on the board from 2004 to 2009, was the first African American woman appointed to the board. Brewer is the second.



In Case You Missed It: 





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Career | Black Enterprise


Lil’ Wayne Co-Founded Sports Agency Brings on Powerful Black Female Sports Agent In Acquisition

Nicole Lynn is in a very unique position. She is the first black female sports agent to represent top NFL agency, PlayersRep. In 2017, PlayersRep was acquired by Young Money APAA Sports Agency owned by world-renowned rapper, Lil’ Wayne. In an industry very dominated by male agents and players alike, Black Enterprise caught up with Lynn to find out how she has managed to navigate the murky waters and make it to the top.

Black Enterprise: What is it like being a black female sports agent in a male-dominated industry?

Nicole Lynn: There are over 800 certified NFLPA agents with only about 5% being women. Only a handful of those women are black, so it goes without being said that being a black woman in this industry is extremely challenging. There are so many random issues I face that my male counterparts will never understand. For example, I have to be extremely cautious about the outfits I choose. I have to find the fine line between being presentable and looking nice, but not too nice. You never want to look like you’re trying to stand out more than any other wife or mom in the room. The last thing you want to do is make a wife feel uncomfortable. So I battle with choosing a lipstick that isn’t too bright, heels that aren’t too high and a dress that isn’t too “dressy.” And to make matters worse, being a black woman who likes to change her hair frequently, I have to think of how potential clients will take it. Can I be the girl with Beyoncé weave? Will they be OK with my 3C natural hair with a twist out? Male agents never have to think about half of the potential issues black female agents silently battle.

Despite all of this, I know that I cannot let these personal challenges hinder my performance. Confidence is key in this industry. I always tell potential clients, “I can do a lot for you—get you the best deal, market the crap out of you, and work hard for your family, but there is one thing I can’t do, and that is changing the fact that I am a black woman. If you can accept that, we can make magic happen together!” I pray that my work always speaks for itself and shows that I am equally as knowledgeable, negotiate just as aggressively, and possess the tools necessary to help clients propel their career.

How did you enter into the industry?

I’ve always wanted to be a sports agent, but I didn’t quite know the name of the role. I just knew I wanted to help athletes be successful during and beyond their time in the league. With that in mind, every decision I made was extremely calculated with the same endgame in mind. I got a degree in business and then moved to New York City to work on Wall Street. My initial intention of getting into finance was to help athletes manage and retain their wealth.

While working on Wall Street I learned that the most influential person in an athlete’s life is their agent, not necessarily their financial adviser. The agent helps the athlete with the day to day needs of the athlete and helps them back the big life decision. After I determined I wanted to be a sports agent, I immediately applied to law school. I went to law school knowing I would later sit for the NFLPA agent exam. I worked at the NFLPA in Washington, D.C. before starting as an agent so I could learn everything I could about life after football.

In 2015, after passing both the Texas Bar and NFLPA exam, I started calling around to different sports agencies. Almost none returned my calls. I finally got one to answer, Ken Sarnoff. He basically told me that being a sports agent is hard and that I should rethink my plans. He even challenged me to get him a meeting with a certain NFL prospect with little faith that I would actually succeed. If you know me, then you know that I don’t give up. I called Ken back a couple hours later like “hey he’s available tomorrow, you got an opening?” From that point on, Ken understood that I had what it took to be in this industry. He hired me a week later and I joined the top 10 sports agency PlayersRep.

Two years later, Young Money APAA Sports, owned by Lil Wayne, acquired PlayersRep and we’ve been in a whirlwind since. Like how crazy is it to have Lil Wayne as your boss?! Even I couldn’t have dreamt this up! Being a sports agent is hard, to say the very least. You invest a significant amount of time and resources only to get a lot more no’s than yeses.’ However, the feeling you get when you’re able to get your client on the team of their dreams or negotiate the endorsement deal of a lifetime, it is all worth it. I love my crazy job!

Lil Wayne

Nicole Lynn and NFL client (Image: Nicole Lynn)

What do you think that you bring to the table that your male counterparts do not?

I don’t want to take anything away from the men that work in this business. There are a lot of very good male sports agents that truly care about their clients. However, I think one of the differences between me and my male counterparts is that I focus on more than just the NFL contract. I tap into the human element and the emotional aspect of the relationship with my client. I am a sports agent, but also a life coach, a financial adviser, a travel agent, a therapist, a friend, a sister, and a keeper of peace for my clients. I wear a lot of hats. Many men in this business refuse to wear those hats. I also focus from day one on life after sports. I want to make sure that my client’s transition out of the league is seamless. From the moment I sign a client, I am already having hard conversations about what is next? What is their plan when playing football is over? And I help them in executing this plan by pushing them to finish their degree, to do externships in the offseason, and to retain their wealth. I truly care about the long-term future of my clients.


In Case You Missed It: 



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Career | Black Enterprise


Two Black Enterprise Editors Named Among Top 10 Journalists Covering Black Interests

Two legendary BLACK ENTERPRISE editors, Derek T. Dingle and Alfred Edmond Jr., have been named among the top ten most influential U.S. print journalists covering black interests, business, and culture.

The listing was compiled by Cision Media Research which maintains a database of more than 1.6 million records, including social influencers, traditional media contacts, outlets and opportunities.

Dingle is currently the senior vice president and Chief Content Officer of BE. He is responsible for the strategic planning and editorial direction of the content teams. His bio is featured in The HistoryMakers: 

He graduated from Norfolk State University with a B.A. in journalism and also completed the Magazine Management Program at New York University.

Dingle joined Black Enterprise magazine in 1983 as an assistant editor and was promoted six months later to associate editor. After he completed the New York University magazine management program in 1985, he was made a senior editor. In 1987, Dingle was promoted once again to managing editor, a position he held until 1990. He then joined the staff of Money magazine, where he wrote articles about mutual fund investment and served as senior writer and a member of the planning team for Money Special on Small Business. In 1991, Dingle co-founded Milestone Media Inc., the nation’s largest black-owned comic book company, with childhood friends Denys Cowan, Dwayne McDuffue, Michael Davis and Christopher Priest. After resigning from Money magazine in 1992, he was named Milestone’s president and CEO. One Milestone character, Static Shock, was developed into an animated series that ran from 2000 to 2005 on the WB Network and the Cartoon Network. In December of 1999, Dingle returned to Black Enterprise magazine as editor-at-large. Within a year, he was promoted to vice president and executive editor, serving until July of 2008. That year, Dingle was appointed as the senior vice president and editor-in-chief of Black Enterprise magazine, where he was responsible for the strategic planning and editorial direction of the magazine. In 2014, Dingle was named a Chief Content Officer of Black Enterprise. 

Alfred Edmond Jr. is SVP/editor-at-large of BE. He is a content leader, brand representative and expert resource for all media platforms under the BE brand, including the web site, social media, and live networking events. From 2008 through 2010, Edmond was SVP/editor-in-chief of, helping to lead the transition of BE from single-magazine publisher to digital-first multimedia company. From 1995 through 2008, Edmond was chief editor of BE magazine. He has also hosted the Urban Business Roundtable on WVON-AM in Chicago and  Money Matters, a syndicated radio feature of American Urban Radio Networks. Edmond is also an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and amateur natural bodybuilding competitor. Edmond also heads the content for the BE Modern Man franchise and spearheads the anchor team of the Black Men Xcel Summit. He co-authored Loving in the Grown Zone(Balboa Press; 28.95) with his spouse Zara Green.

The post Two Black Enterprise Editors Named Among Top 10 Journalists Covering Black Interests appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


5 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth Through Your Network

You’ve probably heard the saying, “your network equals your net worth,” or to put it another way—it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Those with affluence and influence tend to network with those with similar attributes. You can increase your net worth through your network.

However, networking isn’t just about connecting with people who have money but with those who have influence and can open doors for you. But how do you become a master networker?

Five Ways to Increase Your Net Worth Through Your Network 

Go where you’re most uncomfortable 

Lisa Nichols, a transformational coach says, “You will never find your next best version of you sitting inside of your comfort zone.” If the opportunity to rise to the next level means getting into rooms, showing up in places, and having conversations with those whom you wouldn’t normally talk to, then it’s time to take a deep breath and step out on that limb.

Assess your network 

Your network is bigger than you think. It’s your classmates from every level of education. As an alumnus of Northwestern University, I was able to connect with classmates, professors, and other graduates to land one of my highest paying jobs back in 2008, and increase my income by $ 25,000 when I switched jobs. Unfortunately, most people discredit their connections with their colleges even though every college has an alumni association and network. Also, don’t disregard your church connections, or people you do business with like your doctors, hair stylists, bankers, and others.

Prepare in advance for networking events 

Prepare for networking events by knowing beforehand what you want to discuss and who you want to meet.

Show up early to networking events

Busy people often show up early to networking events and don’t always stay the entire time. The person you may want to meet at an event may not be there if you arrive too late.

Follow Up 

It’s important to follow-up after a networking event. Not only with new relationships, but with those you may have met before. Another way to reconnect is to share an article that might be beneficial to them or invite them to an event that they could benefit them.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 








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Career | Black Enterprise


16 Things Black People Say or Do That Annoy White People at Work (And In General)

We published a list of things that white people should never say to their black co-workers. Now, Risha Grant, a public relations professional and diversity and inclusion expert, asked white people on her Facebook feed, to list the things that black people say or may do that annoy them.

Here are 16 of the top annoyances (mild and otherwise) that white people said they felt about black people mostly in the workplace, but also in general (these are posted verbatim from Risha Grant’s Facebook feed):

When you want to be friends with them at work but there are other black girls so you just can’t get close cuz ur just the white girl who is held at arms length. You get the feeling that they don’t believe you wanna be their friend. They think we are too different.

…there have been times that conversation with a Black person somehow turns to the topic of inequality…I have no way of truly knowing all the privilege that I enjoy as a white, straight male. I just know there are times, I’d like to learn more and the door closes.

…any time a black person walks into a room — say a new employee in an office — they make a beeline to the other black faces. It can be disappointing because I may know from advance notification about your hiring that you and I have a lot in common, but I have to work harder to be your friend.

On social media, a lot of my activist black friends will post complaints about “white people say …” “white people think…” “white people do …” And I always feel like saying, “Not ALL white people!”


 more common amongst my black friends than any other group. I don’t like it when black people bring up my ‘white privilege’ for the reason they aren’t as well off as they THINK I am

I feel uncomfortable joining amazing organizations if prefaced with ‘black’. Like black nurses association. These are amamazazazing colleagues I want to network with but….I’m not black.

…have noticed a lot of times when I expect the black friend of mine to follow through or follow up on a conversation, weather [sic] it be to contact someone in business or to get back with me with some information it doesn’t always happen. So I would say for me it’s follow through or follow up when conversations are made about moving forward with something.

when I was working with children it seemed more common for black adults to come down on a child for crying or having emotions (particularly when little boys and young men cried, telling them to “Man up.”)

I can say that in my traditional classrooms over the years I’ve had more black kids that seem to go right to fighting on the playground- not a lot of build up, just straight to throwing punches

“The victim.” The ones that make any non black race feel like a dog for what their ancestors may or may not have done during the periods of slavery, and act like the current period non black races owe them something for it. 

Speaking as if they are uneducated. not accents but refusing to speak correctly.

…it seems like African Americans never use a crosswalk. Even if it’s right in front of them, they will go out of their way NOT to cross at the light. Is there something there or am I imagining things?

Poor grammar

It really irritates me that y’all can dance so much better than me! (No one who witnessed it has EVER forgotten your valiant attempt to teach me the Wobble!)

…please don’t assume all white people support Trump. Because we don’t.

A white person has to walk on eggshells with caveats to keep overly sensitive people from being offended — that seems to be one thing that black people do—get offended to easily.

In an article for about her controversial Facebook question, Grant wrote that it took “almost two days to manage the 206 comments, shares, direct messages, and personal texts I received.” She went on to say, “Exercise that muscle to help you understand that regardless of how you identify, we are all a part of the human race. Once we understand that, we will better understand each other; and with that comes grace, respect, and total acceptance.”






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Career | Black Enterprise


Risha Grant: Black Women Need Allies in the Workplace

Risha Grant, the founder and CEO of Risha Grant L.L.C., an award-winning diversity and inclusion consulting and communications firm, recently posted a thought-provoking and provocative question on her Facebook page:

What do Black people do that irritate White people?

The responses from white people evoked counter-responses from black folk ranging from seething outrage to an appreciation for this open dialogue. You can read them here: 16 THINGS BLACK PEOPLE SAY OR DO THAT ANNOY WHITE PEOPLE AT WORK (AND IN GENERAL). 

However, Grant is not simply being a provocateur. For the past 18 years, she has helped major corporations tackle their people problems and solve their diversity and inclusion issues. Now she wants to help you form the relationships you need by equipping you with tools to build allies.

In an exclusive interview with Black Enterprise, Grants speaks about how black women can tap into their power and eliminate what she has coined Bias Synapse, easily remembered as BS, in the workplace.


The Foundation of Allyship


Black Enterprise: Why is building allies at work critical for black women?

Risha Grant: Black women are commonly and unfairly stereotyped as angry and uncompromising. Building a support system of allies is critical in keeping those misconceptions in check. Additionally, building authentic relationships with other co-workers can help you to excel simply because these allies will understand, support, and speak up for who you are and how you operate. From a collaborative standpoint, working with allies allows others to experience your work ethic, creativity, and problem-solving ability. This will provide your allies with the knowledge needed to tout your abilities to the leaders within your company.

In an earlier conversation, we spoke about some of the pillars of alliances being authenticity, communication, and trust. What else would you say is key to the equation of allyship?

Collaboration, strategy, and equality. All these pillars are instrumental to the success of creating allies, but collaboration is the secret sauce to creating an allyship that will boost you to the C-suite. Collaborating allows others to truly understand your superhero powers as they see you fully flexing your leadership muscles. When it comes to strategy, it’s important to always have one. The strategy keeps you on point in recognizing who you should be seeking out as allies. Create a list of the qualities and abilities you need in an ally to climb the next step on the corporate ladder. Equality is super important because being someone’s ally can be draining at times. You want to make sure that you are reciprocating what you expect from others. There is nothing worse than becoming a drain on someone else in your quest to get ahead but when you are needed, you never have time to fit them into your schedule. Make sure you are equally vested in your ally’s success. Not only will it make them want to support you more, but it will also become a point of praise regarding your personality.


How can women form authentic relationships with their co-workers?

Being open, honest, and inclusive are the keys to building authentic relationships. Women, especially black women, may find this somewhat difficult because we have not typically found that we can trust people at work. We tend to lean on and confide in other black women because we are comfortable with them but it’s important that we open our circle up and give people a chance to experience our greatness. This is done through the inclusion of others. Opening yourself up to new experiences will enrich your work and personal life. Authentic relationships should happen organically but there is nothing wrong with planning your strategy for success. Be careful with honesty. Honesty is important but brutal honesty without tact does not build relationships, it destroys them. Meet people where they are. That means, address them with your honesty in a way that it can be received with grace and not humiliation.

Getting past the BS


Some women have been mistreated in some form by co-workers, how can they move past that so that they can build some kind of trust and positive working relationship?

Grace. I heard it said that the hardest thing we will ever do as humans is to forgive people who have never asked for our forgiveness. It’s important to do this for our own peace and success. You can’t build trust without forgiveness, so don’t make that your goal. Understand who you are dealing with and then work with this co-worker in a way that makes you comfortable. You can certainly still build a positive working relationship but keeping work at the forefront is instrumental to your own level of comfort. Learn to manage through your co-worker’s weaknesses for your success and that of your team.

Can you elaborate more on what you call the “pecking order” when it comes to how black women have to select allies in the workplace?

Black women must be strategic but bold in selecting allies. White men are at the top of the hierarchy and everyone else falls in between while black women are consistently at or near the bottom of the hiring and promoting pool. Black women need to focus on finding an ally that will not be envious or have the scarcity mentality. This means that certain people feel there is not enough to go around so becoming your ally could stop them from achieving some level of success. I recommend creating allies with white men, but it needs to be white men who recognize the power and privilege bestowed to them because then they are powerful allies. They can move mountains to support you and won’t worry about how it will affect their upward climb. But, remember you always want to give back what you are getting.

Allyship is a two-way street


How can women stand with their allies when tough times arise and still protect themselves?

This is tricky. At best, you may lose standing at work with your peers and at worst, you could lose your job. This is where ethics and character take center stage. We must support each other and typically suck at it. There is power in numbers and you never know when you will need someone to stand with you. Be a voice when someone is silenced but most importantly as you stand courageously with your ally, do so respectfully but document everything. It’s better to show it than to tell it.

What are some of the office behaviors that people should stay away from as they seek allies?

Pissy Polite people! This is a phrase I coined in my book to define consistent but subtle actions that poison work environments and co-workers. These are seemingly polite people, but their actions are accompanied by a subtle sarcastic undertone that makes it apparent that they don’t really like you or it’s a behavior exuded by individuals who feel obligated to be polite but can’t fake a sincere action. Overall, follow your gut instincts and not the office gossip. You could miss out on a powerful ally and friend if you don’t get to know people for yourself.

The return on relationships


What are some of the doors that open when you have allies?

Leadership opportunities, friendships, more responsibility, promotions and an overall, more positive work experience because you know someone is down for you and wants to see you succeed.


To learn more about how you can form allies, meet us at the Women of Power Summit for a timely conversation, “Can’t We All Just Get Along? How to Cultivate Diverse Allies” hosted by Pfizer on March 1 in Las Vegas.

The post Risha Grant: Black Women Need Allies in the Workplace appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


Would You Give Up Your Job for a Night With Michelle Obama? This Mayor Did

It’s understandable to want to see former first lady Michelle Obama in the flesh because she is just that fantastic. But you might not want to go about doing so they way this former Texas mayor and her associate did.

Lyndia Thomas, the mayor of Forest Hills, Texas, and her pro-tem mayor (defined by Chron as “deputy mayor pro tem, assumes mayoral duties in the event of a mayor’s absence due to death, physical incapacity, impeachment or resignation”), Beckie Duncan Hayes quit their posts after accusations of misusing city funds to pay for tickets to see Michelle Obama.

According to The Daily Mail, the duo expensed two $ 545 tickets to see Mrs. Obama on her Becoming book tour—and were reimbursed with money from the city’s public relations fund.

Rather than being ousted from their positions by that city’s council, the two resigned. Hayes later paid back the money.

The Daily Mail reported: “I will not leave my fate in the hands of other individuals,’ Hayes told WWFA following her resignation. I am a woman of integrity, and the allegations, they have no substance. They are false.”

“We don’t get a salary, but we are entitled to be reimbursed for our expenses,” said Thomas according to the report. “We are not trying to hide anything,” she continued.

ABC News reports that the two women say “they’re being targeted for political reasons, and they both said they will plan to run for city council again. The next election is in May.”

The Forest Hills city website now shows Clara Faulkner as the Deputy Mayor Pro Tem.





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Career | Black Enterprise


Fortune 500 Company Corporate Board Diversity at All-Time High

A new report from the Alliance for Board Diversity (ABD) and Deloitte, reveals that women and people of color represent 34% of all corporate board seats in Fortune 500 companies—placing board diversity at an all-time high.

Here are some key findings from the study:

-Black woman gained 32 board seats in 2018, an increase of 26.2% from 2016.

-Black men gained 26 board seats in 2018, an increase of 8.5% from 2016.

-Black and Asian women achieved the largest increase in board seats; black women at a 44.8% increase, and Asian women at a 30.8% increase.

-Companies are increasingly re-appointing minority board members to their boards rather than seeking out new directors.

“The increase in boardroom diversity over the last two years is encouraging, but we must not overlook that Caucasian/White men still hold 66% of all Fortune 500 board seats and 91.1% of chairmanships on these boards,” said Linda Akutagawa, chair for the Alliance for Board Diversity and president and CEO, LEAP (Leadership for Asian Pacifics).

“While progress has been achieved, there is still much more work to do,” said Deb DeHaas, vice chairman and national managing partner, Deloitte Center for Board Effectiveness.

‘Wokeness’ in the Boardroom 

Corporate America has been responsive to the wave of activism, particularly across social media, in regards to racism, sexism, economic inequality, and various other societal ills. Last year, Nike interjected itself into the heated debate over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem pre-game, to protest police brutality. The athletic apparel company made the symbol of the kneeling movement, Colin Kaepernick, a star in one of its ad campaigns.

The risk of offending customers who disagree with protesting on the field seemed to be worth taking. Nike’s sales increased 31% after the Kaepernick ad backlash.

Recently, Gillette, a Procter & Gamble brand, released an ad in line with the #MeToo movement, urging men to take responsibility for sexist behavior of other men. The ad is inciting both praise and outrage.

It’s not yet known how the controversial ad will affect P&G’s bottom line; the company is set to release its Q2 earnings next week (but so far, Wall Street speculation is favorable).

Burger King is the latest company to wade into political waters after posting a tweet poking fun at a misspelled tweet of Donald Trump’s.

CNN coined this ad trend “woke advertising.” This “wokeness” has presumably made it into the corporate boardrooms as the growing diversity board diversity numbers seem to evidence.

Despite Spate of Black Executive Board Appointments, Challenges Persist

A number of high-profile black executives have been appointed to the boards of some of the world’s largest companies. Last November, Nike announced the appointment of John W. Rogers, the CEO and founder of Ariel Investments L.L.C. to its board. Retired AMEX CEO Ken Chenault sits on the boards of Facebook and Airbnb. Edith Cooper, the executive vice president and global head of human capital at Goldman Sachs was added to Silicon Valley company Slack’s board. View a full listing of black board members on BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 2018 Registry of Corporate Directors.

As progress is made, challenges remain. One issue is that most board appointments come from the C-suite level and from the pool of corporate CEOs, in particular. The number of black CEOS at the corporate level has shrunk in recent years. Chenault actually discussed this issue with BE in a recent interview.

“We have a long way to go,” said Chenault. “As I’ve said publicly, I think it’s embarrassing that the number of African American CEOs has actually been reduced from eight years ago. That’s a serious problem. From an African American perspective, we are underrepresented. We can talk all the theories we want. People talk about the complexity of this issue. I know that there are very qualified people. They just haven’t gotten the opportunity.”

While it’s important to celebrate the achievement made in diversifying American corporate boards, there is still the need to build up the pipeline of qualified black executives that can ascend to the C-suite.

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Career | Black Enterprise


Sources: Kamala Harris Will Launch A Presidential Campaign Around MLK Jr. Day

Sen. Kamala Harris may officially announce her bid for the White House sometime during MLK weekend, according to inside sources who spoke to KCBS Radio in her home state of California.

Speculation that the Democratic senator will make a run for president next year escalated when she launched a book tour promoting her new memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, which published Tuesday. When questioned about the 2020 race on her tour, Harris has repeatedly said that she is not ready to announce her decision yet. However, several sources with knowledge of her plans say she and her family are indeed ready for a run.

Sources also say that the 54-year-old freshman senator is still debating on how and where to kick off a presidential campaign. KCBS reports that “the tentative plan is for Harris to enter the race for the Democratic presidential nomination with a campaign rally, most likely in Oakland, where she was born and began her legal career.” However, a spokesperson for Harris told The Hill, that no announcement is imminent and Harris will not be in Oakland during the holiday weekend.

Nonetheless, Harris told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday that she will make a final decision about 2020 soon and that she truly believes the nation is ready for a woman of color to be president.

“We have to give the American people more credit, and we have to understand that the American public and the people of our country are smart people who will make decisions about who will be their leader based on who they believe is capable, who they believe has an honest desire to lead, to represent, to see them, to be a voice for them even if they have no power,” she said.

Harris made history in 2017 when she became the second African American woman to be sworn into Congress as a U.S. Senator. Altogether, a total of just 10 African Americans have ever served in the U.S. Senate, including former President Barack Obama and Sen. Cory Booker.

If Harris jumps into the 2020 race, she would likely join Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who recently announced an exploratory committee for a presidential bid. Other potential high-profile Democratic candidates include Sen. Booker, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).

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Career | Black Enterprise


Tonie Leatherberry Is the New Chair of the Executive Leadership Council

Tonie Leatherberry, who is a principal at Deloitte & Touche L.L.P., and president of the Deloitte Foundation, has been named the new chair of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC).

“After serving on The ELC board for several years and developing programs such as The ELC CEO Academy, I am honored to have the opportunity to continue my service and work with ELC members to expand The ELC’s reach and influence,” stated Leatherberry in a press release. “Given my passion for leadership development and understanding the critical need to help prepare the next generation of black and women of color C-suite executives, I am proud of the work we’ve done together. I look forward to playing a larger role in helping advance the impact of The ELC and its programs on industry, the marketplace, our communities, and beyond.”

The ELC is an organization dedicated to creating a pipeline of black corporate executives and leaders. Its members include some of the most preeminent black CEOS, senior executives, and board members of Fortune 1000 and other prestigious companies.

Leatherberry has been with Deloitte for over 25 years. As a principal in Deloitte’s Risk and Financial Advisory practice, she is responsible for supporting key accounts across Strategy, Enterprise Risk, Human Capital and Technology services. She has also served on Deloitte Consulting’s Board of Directors and as Deloitte Consulting’s Chief Inclusion Officer and serves on several advisory boards, including Widener University Board of Trustees, Boston University College of Engineering Advisory Committee, and Boston University Board of Overseers.

“Through her experience working across Deloitte and with multiple client organizations, Tonie understands what it takes to be an effective leader,” remarked Mike Fucci, Chairman of the Board of Deloitte and Chairman of the Deloitte Foundation. “I have no doubt that she will bring these qualities to her role as ELC chair and will continue to develop a strong pipeline of future leaders. Tonie’s passion for education at the intersection of diversity and helping others succeed to their full capacity has been a driving force of the Deloitte Foundation’s efforts for the past three years. I am so proud of Tonie and I am confident she will excel in this new role.”

She is also slated to speak at this year’s Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, hosting the session, “Are You Board Ready?” where she will provide insight into how black women can find places on corporate boards.

Receiving numerous accolades, most notably as one of the top 25 consultants by Consulting Magazine, she was named by Black Enterprise as one of the Most Powerful Women in Business. Leatherberry has also been recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s “Top 50 Women in Business,” The Network Journal’s annual list of “25 Influential Black Women in Business,” as one of Savoy magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America” and one of the “Top 100 under 50 Leader” by Diversity MBA Magazine.

“Tonie has been an enthusiastic and engaged member of The ELC since 2009 and has served on The ELC board of directors for several years,” said Skip Spriggs, president and CEO of The Executive Leadership Council in a statement. “Her fellow board directors recognized and rewarded Tonie for her leadership with this appointment. In addition to continuing her support for The ELC’s CEO Academy and our work with the Alliance for Board Diversity, Tonie will lead efforts to increase the visibility and impact of the organization, and its value to our members.”




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Career | Black Enterprise


It’s National Mentoring Month! Our Top 5 Articles with the Best Mentorship Advice

January is National Mentoring Month. While the notable goal of this monthlong campaign is to recruit mentors for young people, let’s face it—we can all use a mentor through various aspects of our lives, particularly with our careers.

For that reason, we have collected our top articles with excellent advice about mentorship. Whether you are seeking a mentor or want to be a better one to someone, these articles can help you reach your mentorship goals.

Read On For the Best Mentorship Advice


Dr. Christina T. Rosenthal is a dentist, social entrepreneur, and recently named Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity, one of nearly 300 people working worldwide to build fairer, healthier, and more inclusive societies. Just one year out of dental school, she opened her first private practice, and then later launched Determined to be a Doctor Someday (DDS), an initiative to develop the next generation of healthcare professionals who will be representative of the communities they serve.


At several points throughout your career, you’ll need the advice of a trusted adviser or mentor, someone who can help you navigate career paths and transitions as well as the stages of business cycles and professional relationships. But take note, there are a lot of misconceptions about what mentorship is and who it is for—we’re here to clear a few things up.


Paul Brunson is an entrepreneur who has been co-signed by Oprah, mentored Ed Neff, and the list goes on. He has some key advice on how to land high-profile individuals as mentors.


If your desire is to procure an in-person mentoring relationship with a senior professional and/or executive, here are five key things you should understand before pursuing mentorship.


Murray Newlands: “When choosing a mentor, I sometimes just knew if she or he was the right person for the job, while other situations led me to put a lot of consideration into it, before starting a relationship. In doing so, I’ve discovered there are some criteria that you can use to determine if someone will make a good mentor for you.”


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Career | Black Enterprise


Joy Reid is Taking MSNBC’s TV Viewership to New Heights

As a political analyst, author, and host, Joy Reid is known for asking the questions others shy away from and pushing people to tell the truth despite what side of the political spectrum they’re on. The Harvard graduate began her career in radio at Radio One and later transitioned into digital reporting for local and national outlets such as The Grio and the Miami Herald. In short, Reid is a Woman of Power.

And now, thanks to Reid and her team, in 2018, AM Joy scored their third straight year of growth on weekends. And the show became the No. 1 show in African American total viewers across all cable during the time period of Jan. 1 – Dec. 30, 2018.

In fact, according to Nielsen, MSNBC finished 2018 as the most-watched cable network among African Americans for the second year in a row. In sales day (Monday-Sunday 6am-2am), MSNBC averaged 255,000 African American total viewers and was No.1 among all cable networks (ahead of No. 2 BET, No. 3 ESPN, No. 4 ADSM, No. 5 CNN, and No. 62 FOX News). MSNBC was the only cable network in the Top 15 to grow (+2%) in the demographic compared to the same time period in 2017. In addition, MSNBC was the most-watched cable network among African Americans during prime (Monday–Friday 8-11pm).

Having blown other networks out of the water, MSNBC became the No. 1 cable news network in prime in December and beat FOX News for the first time in 17 years as the No.1 cable news network for the week of Dec. 17.

With strong reporters like Reid, Trymaine Lee, and a host of journalists of color—the network has been able to establish a strong presence and sense of credibility within the black community. Now more than ever, society is in need of reliable reporting—and MSNBC has proven that they are committed to delivering the truth.

The post Joy Reid is Taking MSNBC’s TV Viewership to New Heights appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


How to Own Your Career in 2019

Career ownership is an investment, just like home ownership. Adopting the concept of career ownership will give you confidence, freedom, and joy in knowing that you can determine your career success.

While in the process of creating a professional development workshop, Be the CEO of Your Career, I outlined what career ownership is:

-A conscious decision to take full responsibility for your career journey and never relying solely on others to determine your career trajectory;

-Strategically positioning yourself to reach personal career goals according to your own definition of success.

-Continuously invest in your professional development so your knowledge, skills, and abilities are in alignment with what your industry demands.

Here are four ways to own your career:

-Don’t be afraid to take on different career opportunities. Each experience is designed to teach you something different in order to prepare you for the next one. You’re not obligated to stay in any one position for a long period of time, even if that job seems perfect for you. Sometimes you must force yourself to leave your comfort zone so you can grow forward in a new direction.

-You own your knowledge, skills, and abilities and have the choice to rent your expertise in exchange for payment to employers, clients, etc. You don’t have to accept any and every job offered to you. Be sure to research and know your worth, starting with the minimum and then the maximum dollar amount you are willing to accept for the expertise you offer.

-Continue learning even if you have to pay for it yourself. Invest in books, workshops, conferences, training, coaching, and other resources that will add to your development.

Be careful not to put all your trust into promises made by others because they don’t owe you anything. Remember, while its true you will need help along your career journey, not everyone who appears to be genuinely helpful has your best interest in mind. Therefore, trust your instincts always, and that feeling in the gut of your stomach. Don’t allow your mind to talk you into something different.



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Career | Black Enterprise


Meet Anne Reid, the Black Woman Tapped As Elizabeth Warren’s Chief of Staff

In addition to taking another step toward launching a presidential run in 2020, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has named Anne Reid as her new chief of staff, making Reid one of the few African Americans to lead a U.S. Senator’s staff. Reid is also the only black woman serving as chief of staff for a Democratic senator.

“Anne is a gifted leader and committed public servant,” Warren said in a statement released Dec. 27. “Anne’s experience serving our country and working to improve the health and well-being of millions of Americans will be invaluable as we continue our fights to level the playing field.”

The announcement that Warren tapped Reid for the position is being praised as a progressive step toward diversity by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “Black women play a critical role in our democracy, and Senator Warren’s appointment of a talented staffer like Anne Reid recognizes that Americans from all backgrounds can serve in a leadership role at the highest levels of government,” said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center.

“As we have seen so far during this hiring season, the face of senior staff in the House and Senate is changing because of members who recognize that it is not enough to have diversity in electoral coalitions. Diversity and inclusion must be the centerpiece of policymaking. It starts with staff,” added Don Bell, the director of the Black Talent Initiative at the Joint Center.

The move could be part of Warren’s effort to court black voters should she decided to challenge President Donald Trump in a bid for the White House next year. As for now, the Massachusetts senator has created an exploratory committee to test the waters before her potential run.

Here are five facts about Anne Reid.

She was hired and promoted by Warren within two months

Reid began serving as Sen. Warren’s Senior Advisor in Oct. 2018, just a couple of months before she was named as the senator’s new Chief of Staff.

She worked for the Obama administration

Reid began her work in D.C. politics back in 2008, working as a congressional staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives under the Obama administration.

During this time, Reid served as a staff member and legislative analyst for the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee and the Oversight & Government Reform Committee for Democrat Rep. Henry A. Waxman. In her final year on the Energy and Commerce staff, she was the lead Democratic staffer covering public health agencies and issues.

Later, she went on to work as a counselor to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, where she was a member of the senior leadership team during Barack Obama’s last years in office.

Reid previously served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Christopher A. Coons.

She co-founded a Public Health & Policy Think Tank

Following President Trump’s inauguration, Reid left government and teamed up with former Obama administration staffer Bobby Clark to create Concordis: Strategy and Analytics in June 2017. The group researches public health issues, develops policy ideas, and proposes solutions to improve health and well-being.

She has worked in the nonprofit sector

In Oct. 2017, Reid was named as the chief strategy officer at Vision To Learn, an organization that offers free eye exams and glasses to children in low-income communities.

She obtained a B.A. from Harvard and a Master’s from Chapel Hill

Reid holds a B.A. from Harvard University, where she majored in Hispanic Studies. She also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Career | Black Enterprise


Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke Shares 5 Keys to Success in 2019

During this year’s second annual Success Supper—an annual family-style dinner designed to recognize and celebrate women who embody grace and fortitude while impacting their community—Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a legislative pillar in Brooklyn, New York’s 9th district, talked about the importance of communities supporting black women.

As a co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus of Black Women and Girls, Clarke focuses on providing women with the education and entrepreneurial resources needed to become successful business owners.

Congresswoman Clarke shared five keys to success in the New Year:

Evaluate your network

“It’s about the circles you’re in, your network. We have to ask ourselves who is in our network? The challenge for our community is not one of worth, it’s one of trust. Because we’re spending money every day how much of those dollars do you spend with black entrepreneurs?”

Use your Influence

“We’re not using our influence. Were very influential. As a matter of fact, there is not a popular trend that’s been started that we have not been at the heart of.”

Trust Your Abilities

“Always trust in yourself and your abilities. Be self-aware, because understanding yourself helps you to improve your leadership.”

Stay True to Yourself

“It’s important for us to stay true to ourselves. Not everyone is going to be out here [protesting] in the street but some folk may fund the movement. Not everyone is going to be the person who is going to be out front but every leader is building an organization of support.”

Stay Focused

Stay focused enough [on your] own goals and aspirations.

The post Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke Shares 5 Keys to Success in 2019 appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise


The 15 Top Black News Stories of 2018

BLACK ENTERPRISE covered some of the biggest black news stories in 2018 surrounding business and career. Spotify and Google put out a massive call for women of color podcasters. An NBA team got its first black woman CEO. A young man made history as Pennsylvania’s youngest judge ever. And this successful black entrepreneur paid it forward creating a massive fund for black women-owned businesses.

For every piece of negative news about the black community, there are many often untold stories of achievement, success, and giving back. Take a look at our 15 biggest black news stories of 2018.

Top Black News Stories of 2018


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As a student at Penn State University, Hanif Johnson, then the president of Omega Psi Phi was charged with assault in connection with a hazing allegation that earned him three weeks in jail. Although he wasn’t found guilty of the most serious charges, a judge still handed him two summary harassment charges. In 2018, he became the youngest elected judge in the state of Pennsylvania winning the magisterial seat over Republican Claude Phipps by a 73% margin in Dauphin County.


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Hair weaves and extensions, traditionally donned by women, are a big business, especially with black consumers and particularly with women of color. A black barber based out of Maryland, is making a lucrative business creating hair weaves for men. Thirty-five-year-old barber Wade Menendez glues natural and synthetic hair to balding men’s scalps and then styles them into their remaining hair.


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SheaMoisture haircare and skincare products founder Richelieu Dennis announced a $ 100 million fund for women entrepreneurs of color at the 2018 Essence Festival. The announcement was part of Dennis’ vow to create an investment fund for minority entrepreneurs, specifically women of color.


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Four young and focused black men partnered up to create Harlem Capital and take on the task of funding black and brown business founders. Their goal: Invest in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years.


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Mellody Hobson, one of the most respected and knowledgeable black business leaders, was appointed vice chair at Starbucks when longtime chairman Howard Schultz stepped down in June. The ubiquitous coffee chain had a tumultuous year, marked with the scandal of the arrest of two black men at one of its Philadelphia stores.



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NBA superstar LeBron James debuted his latest Nike collaboration, revealing that they were inspired and designed by African American women. The sneakers were unveiled at Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) style awards and fashion show, an annual event that celebrates people of color in fashion and empowers minority designers with a platform to showcase their collections during New York Fashion Week.


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In July, Maurice Stinnett became the first black man to be appointed as vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at an NBA team with BSE Global. The company—which was formerly known as Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment Global—develops and operates state-of-the-art venues and manages premier sports franchises, including the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, NHL’s New York Islanders, and the Barclays Center.


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Malachi Jones, a 17-year-old wunderkind, was awarded a Gold Medal Portfolio, the highest honor of the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards presented by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Jones joined a prestigious group of former youth winners, now all household names, including Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates, and Stephen King.


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In September, the SBA and the Milken Institute announced the Partnership for Lending in Underserved Markets (PLUM) initiative. This trailblazing program is designed to develop and test initiatives that will provide capital to minority owned-businesses more effectively, throughout the United States.


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Cynthia Marshall, a leading black business executive, was named interim CEO of the Dallas Mavericks in the wake of a scathing article exposing the basketball organization’s culture of sexual harassment against women, is about to give a whole new meaning to the idea of March Madness.


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Although our original report on this news was in December 2017, we followed up in 2018 on the program designed to revitalize distressed neighborhoods in Maryland. Local councilmembers and community advocates pushed for a government program that would sell thousands of vacant buildings in Baltimore for $ 1 each. In turn, buyers would have to promise to refurbish and live in the properties for a certain period of time.


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With the launch of the Google Podcasts app in June, the company is working to make it easier for people around the world to find and access podcasts. Alongside the app, Google has launched its Podcasts creator program, which aims to support these underrepresented podcasters and make it easier for people to learn how to get into this growing medium.


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Newscaster and TV host Tamron Hall left NBC’s ‘Today’ show in 2017, but her career is far from over. In fact, it’s been reborn. In this interview, Hall speaks about her post-Today show life and the plans for her new show.


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Melissa Harville-Lebron never imagined her entrepreneurial pursuits and ambitions would lead her to make history as the first African American woman to solely own a race team licensed by NASCAR. Read her compelling story. 


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In 2018, Spotify launched Sound Up Bootcamp, a weeklong intensive program for aspiring female podcasters of color. The company covered all expenses for a five-day workshop, which included panels, and activities around podcasting, led by experts and professionals. Travel to New York City, six nights of hotel, and breakfast and lunch were all included. Catch up on the finalists and winners here and be sure to follow Black Enterprise for Spotify’s 2019 Sound Up Bootcamp entry.


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The Lawyer Helping Social Influencers Protect their Passion and Profits

Although social influencers and content creators are a fairly new phenomenon, their ability to inspire an audience to take action makes them highly sought after by small businesses, mega-brands, and even Hollywood film studios. But creators should take note, with a growing demand for influencers, comes an increasing need to protect your inventions; images, as well as literary and artistic works. Thankfully, there are intellectual property attorneys like Shay M. Lawson. As an intellectual property attorney, diversity expert, and founder of the Advocate Law Group PC, she’s fiercely committed to protecting a person’s passion and profits through copyright, trademarks, and contracts. “The biggest mistake I see creatives making is assuming they’re ‘too small’ to be stolen from or copied,” says Lawson. Spend the few dollars on a copyright now so you can enforce your rights against thieves who will be sorry later.”

Unlike a traditional entertainment attorney focused on television, film, music, theater, and publishing, Lawson adds social media to her area of specialization. “I’m not your run of the mill entertainment attorney because what it means to be an entertainer and how that person generates revenue is always changing,” she says. “A single client who is a multi-platinum music producer could also be a YouTube sensation from making videos of his beats, or a style influencer for how she wears her hair. Understanding how all that needs to be legally protected is going to be completely different than any other type of trademark or contract lawyers are doing. I’m probably only a handful of lawyers that can tell you how much you should negotiate for a Tweet versus an Instagram post versus a Snap story versus a YouTube video, and put you in the best position to maintain ownership of the content you create when partnering with a brand for sponsored content. I can only do that because I am a part of the culture. I grew up with the creation of each of these platforms. So as unique as my client’s needs are, I am also uniquely informed on how to best protect them from a legal standpoint.”

From Lawson’s Instagram account

Coupled with Lawson’s passion for protecting intellectual property, is her commitment to advocating for social change. “I love the overwhelming unity among women in the entertainment industry in being a voice for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, especially among women of color,” she says. What I want to see in my industry, though, is accountability and real lasting change not damage controlled reactionary change for optics. My passion for this change has been channeled into an unexpected opportunity to work with Kitti Jones as a client. Kitti is a dynamic spirit that has leveraged her dark experience with domestic violence at the hands of a major music celebrity, to now be an author and the face of a national PSA campaign to spread awareness and resources to victims.”

Lawson also sits on the board of the Lee Thompson Young Foundation that provides mental health resources to students in Atlanta-area public schools. She’s a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where she chairs social action around issues such as voting during midterm elections. Plus she sits on the board of the Recording Academy, Atlanta Chapter as a Governor and co-chair of Advocacy where she has spent the past two years lobbying members of Congress on behalf of music creators to pass the Music Modernization Act.

Lawson’s dedication to the field speaks volumes about the power of representation. “I was inspired to go to law school by a group of environmental attorneys that came to my high school, she said. The attorneys shared their work on behalf of African communities being taken advantage of by American oil companies and corrupt governments. I actually focused my undergraduate thesis at Hampton University on Nigerian political theory and my graduate research on war crimes and international humanitarian law for the International War Crimes Tribune. So helping others and helping communities has always been on my mind. This translated into working in diversity and inclusion once I started my professional career. Any part I can play in empowering organizations to be the best and most inclusive version of themselves is a service to everyone and a cause I will always take up meaningfully.”

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