Black women are beginning to emerge as leaders across all industries, academia, government and non-profit organizations. This trend is particularly evident in the creation of new businesses: the 2016 American Express OPEN State Of Women-Owned Businesses Report found that women-owned businesses have grown five times faster than the national average since 2007, fueled primarily by Black and Hispanic women.
We have seen this trend in our own activities: in the seven weeks since we wrote about Black Women Talk Tech, we have attended six events featuring successful Black women as speakers or panelists. Equally impressive to the growing quantity of businesses owned by Black women, is the exceptionally high quality of these events and the presenters they attract.
Black women face well-documented adversities, ranging from socio-economic hurdles to unconscious bias and discrimination. What we heard from many of these presenters is that they have used adversity to fuel their determination, hone their talent and build their resilience. And now they are using their success to raise their visibility, share their experiences and inspire more black women to take up the challenges of leadership.
We want to recognize and celebrate the amazing black women whose presentations we have had the pleasure of hearing. To this end, we list below 28 Black women we have heard at these six recent events: Celebrating an Inclusive & Creative Ad Culture by Campaign US; Powerful Women in Leadership by the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources; Diversity and Intersectionality in Action by the City University of New York; Black, Woman and Genius by GeenieBox; Minority Women in Tech by the Zahn Innovation Center of the City College of New York (disclaimer: P. Gaudiano is an Adjunct Instructor at CCNY); and the 2017 Diversity in Tech Awards by Code Interactive.
If you are a leader who cares about diversity and inclusion, you can find dozens of similar events each year in virtually any urban area. For instance, just this week if you are in New York you can attend the Women of Color in Tech event by the Digital Diversity Network or the Harlem Tech Summit.
In the meantime, we encourage you to peruse the initial list of 28 women, follow them on social media, visit their online profiles, and get to know them. And the next time you need a speaker or panelist for an event, or if you are looking for outstanding talent, please reach out to them.
2. Camille Hearst, Cofounder and CEO, Kit
4. Colleen Taylor, Executive Vice President, Mastercard
13. Jennifer Lambert, Cofounder, Swivel Beauty
15. Latraviette Smith-Wilson, Senior Vice President of Communications, Sundial Brands
23. Scherri Roberts, SVP of Human Resources, Hearst Magazines