( ENSPIRE COMMUNITY ) What Every Successful Black Woman Needs
By ENSPIRE Contributor: Tamara Luke
On Sunday, April 2nd, three dynamic women took center stage at John Henrik Clarke House to discuss The Importance of Intergenerational Networks Among Black Women. Moderated by Dr. Danielle Moss Lee, CEO of YWCA of the City of New York, this afternoon discussion featured panelists Jennifer Jones Austin, Esq., CEO/ ED of The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Arva Rice, President of The New York Urban League and Katrina McGhee, CEO of Loving on Me!
The meeting venue overflowed with beautiful black women at various stages of life and at different points in their careers. To say the least, this event was simply empowering to experience. The conversation covered an array of topics including dealing with career challenges, tools to manage work/life balance and jealousy among black women. These successful career women not only shared invaluable advice on how to maneuver strategically in the workplace but were also willing to share their personal life experiences. When addressing the gravity of a black woman’s influence on the community, Jones Austin noted we should be concerned as a people when we see the black church and other social black organizations where women are often the driving force lose power.
Such institutions are a pillar of strength and serve to guide children who don’t have the support at home. According to McGhee, “We diminish ourselves to compensate for how others may react to us… Admit that you’re all that and let anyone else know they are too! Our gifts don’t take away from others. We have to operate in our gifts, strengths, talents and abilities; then you no longer compare, compete and complain. We struggle because we learn to compete against everyone else and then complain about our circumstance and comparing ourselves to others.”
“Black Lives Matter” isn’t just a phrase but a way of life for McGee. She says, “It’s important to open the door for other black people to follow… To allow people in our communities to have opportunities and go beyond their circumstances.” By mentoring young women in their career challenges, McGee is putting action to her words. Having a mentor inside and outside the workplace may be the critical factor that determines a black woman’s success in both the workplace and outside of professional dynamics.
As women, it’s important to join a network that affirms our awesomeness and build relationships that positively impact our lives professionally and personally. Rice learned at a young age to “keep reaching, keep pulling, and keep stretching” and she encouraged the women in attendance to be courageous enough to take risks. We become authentic when we learn to be more vulnerable by sharing our strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and triumphs.
This event was organized by Board for the Education of People of African Ancestry (BEPAA)