( ENSPIRE She Did That ) The Climb Summit, Curative Workshops Included, In Association With Nyanue’s Company I Choose The Ladder
ENSPIRE Contributor: Shelsea Deravil
Over the past 18 months, the current business and cultural landscape have seen some growth in Black women holding C-suite and board member positions at global companies. We currently celebrate these “wins” and corporate successes. However, the next generation of Black corporate women wants to ensure that this leadership shift is ‘Not A Trend But A Corporate Takeover’ for Black Women leaders with The Climb Summit. The end goal is to build a legacy and corporate longevity.
Then enters I Choose the Ladder, a premier career consulting company that aims to bridge the gap between ambitious Black women who want to climb the corporate ladder and the corporations that understand the importance of attracting and retaining this group. Created by Chicago native marketing executive Watchen Nyanue, who personally noticed a void in the corporate space, the company aims to provide Black Women the necessary tools, guidance, and resources to ‘win’ and achieve success on their corporate journey up the ladder.
Nyanue’s interest in business began with an awarded college scholarship. “It started when I received my Posse Foundation Scholarship at 17 to attend college,” Nyanue said. “As part of our college prep, we were exposed to business professionals from a variety of industries who were all incredibly successful. We were also exposed to entrepreneurs who were succeeding at the highest levels, so at 18, I felt like I had a bit of a peek in different ways that I could become successful.”
Nyanue visited her home country Liberia in 2019 for the first time in 28 years. This recent trip back to Liberia allowed Nyanue to take a closer look at the country’s economic state and social structure.
“Going back as an adult was such an eye-opening experience for me,” Nyanue stated. “The impact of the civil war can still be felt in the country, and I think as Liberians are trying to rebuild their lives, you are starting to see a move towards more private businesses starting to do well. Most people, though, still aspire to work in government, but hopefully, as we start to see more of a development of the private sector, Liberians will have a variety of viable career options to choose from.
“I think the access to resources that we have in the US makes it really hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the two countries. But, I will say that Liberians are some of the most resilient people that I know, and my Liberian foundation is a huge part of what allows me to move through the world in the way that I do,” she said.
For the third year in a row, I Choose The Ladder (ICTL) will produce The Climb. The Climb is an immersive experience curated for mid-careered Millennials and Gen X professional women, with the ultimate goal to prioritize and navigate Black women in the workplace. The day will include the nation’s top Black female executives leading and facilitating six engaging and action-oriented workshops/panels. Key topics include Managing Imposter Syndrome, The Rules of the Money Game, Love on the Ladder, The Art of Reinvention, The Mind and Body Connection, and Your Digital Footprint. In addition, The CLIMB career summit will take place on Saturday, September 25, 2021.
Nyanue is not sure whether ICTL may expand globally. If it were to, “it would be in partnership with Black women who have lived experiences of the markets that we are trying to enter.” Nyanue would, however, like to become a co-host on a business or career television show that may provide a chance at a global reach.
The Climb summit primarily targets Gen X and Millennial Black-careered women who grew up with pre-advanced technology and scarce resources to advance in the capitalistic society. With today’s tech society, the opportunities seem endless for the upcoming Black corporate women (Gen Z). Gen Z Black women are not necessarily excluded from The Climb summit, but the approach for helping them acquire such resources may be different.
The generational gap is something that Nyanue has thought about to include the next line of Black-careered women. There is no definite solution to ICTL’s outreach towards all Black women. Regardless, small steps will happen. “Technology has caused the world to change so quickly, but Corporate America moves and changes so slowly,” Nyanue said. “So, for us being the bridge between women who want to move fast and the corporations who want those women to work for them, but tend to move slow, gives us a unique challenge that I am really excited to try and solve.”
As stated, this is the time for more Black women to take over! For Black-women success to NOT be a trend, we humans must continue the conversation surrounding the steps towards keeping the needle moving. We must find ways to how Black women can continuously be heard and their talents welcomed and celebrated in the corporate world.