( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Seen and Heard Program Launches to Elevate Black Women
ENSPIRE Contributor: Chante` Wiltz
Deandra Coleman, CEO of Beyond The C-Suite is displaying her strength and perseverance through educating other enticing Black Women during her Seen and Heard Experience. For as far as time can tell women have been treated as inferior to men in our communities. Along the way, they were faced with an endless list of trials and tribulations that became the backbone of their entire being. African American and other Women of Color relied on their endurance, perseverance, and strength to secure their future without needing to rely on another being. Black women could secure a reputation for themselves; If they wanted something, they would push themselves to get it done no matter the doubts and perceptions thrown their way.
The Experience includes personal brand development, full communications strategies, launch marketing, public relations, and so many more sections that enhance the Black Woman’s potential. The Seen and Heard Experience’s first part is the All-Inclusive Retreat where the women can attend in-person training and workshops featuring experts in the fields of book branding, writing, and speech development while also relaxing throughout the first part of their writing process. During the retreat, they socialize with other Black Women who are on the same path as them. This plays an important role in instilling in every participant that they are not alone in the struggle. After the retreat, each individual is paired with a ghostwriter for anywhere between two to seven months as they dive further into their writing.
To learn more about the Experience and how she plans to elevate the voices of Black women throughout the program, ENSPIRE reached out to Ms. Coleman.
As more Black women step forward into the light of society’s industries, how do you view them as being treated?
I think I always viewed Black women as the person who will “get things done.” We have a track record for being reliable, strong, savvy, and always going the extra mile. The problem is that those qualities are often taken for granted and perceived as the bare minimum for us but for our counterparts, they are viewed as going above and beyond and are handsomely rewarded for it. Black women are often expected to perform at peak performance 24/7 but not be recognized, promoted or compensated for their efforts. In this post, George Floyd’s corporate awakenings laden with pledges and promises, Black women being granted entry into the senior level and c-suite positions is not enough if we are still struggling to be treated and compensated equally. It is almost as if the thought is “give them the title to shut them up but don’t pay them enough for them to be our neighbors.
How do you feel Black women could benefit by having a ghostwriter throughout their publishing process?
Far too often, when I speak to my clients about their personal brand elevation and entrance to the thought leader world, they cite not having enough time to write a book as their number one roadblock. My clients are corporate executives, wives, mothers, caring for aging parents, sorority sisters, and so on. They simply cannot or do not want to add one more time-consuming item to their plate no matter how badly they want it. Second, some women are simply not writers! They have a story to tell, insight to share, or an innovative idea but putting it on paper in a cohesive way is not their jam. My clients are specialists in their field, not necessarily in writing.
Providing a ghostwriter for their publishing process eliminates these barriers. They will have a dedicated person working alongside them to help see their publishing process from start to finish. They will bounce ideas off of the ghostwriter who will then craft the words in a way that makes sense and saves time. Not only that, but the ghostwriter is an accomplished author with many years of experience and publications under their belt. What better way to accomplish their dreams of becoming a published author? Too often we get caught up in the process rather than just getting it done.
Do you feel that allowing a ghostwriter into your clients’ journey could prove to be a disadvantage in the long run?
Not at all. These are still their words, ideas, and stories! Nothing can take that away from them. A ghostwriter is an enhancement, an accountability partner, and an expert to help guide them along the way. We use experts in other areas of our life and never question if we will be at a disadvantage in the long run so why should this be any different. Black women need to embrace a softer way of elevation. We don’t always have to hustle, grind, and be near burnout in order to be successful.
How does your work through The Seen & Heard Experience affect the gender and racial gaps throughout society?
The Seen & Heard Experience is designed specifically to give Black women an advantage when crafting their future careers. My goal is to set them up with a personal brand that will speak for them before they walk into any boardroom. Adding published authors and professional speakers to their resumes only increases their value. Therefore, when they advocate for a promotion or are being considered for a paid board position, they can cite their built-in audience, book sales, and paid speaking engagements as an added advantage of why they are the no-brainer person for the job.
Not only do authorship and professional speaking add additional streams of income not tethered to their job, but this then gives them the opportunity to negotiate their salaries, perks, and benefits as they are bringing more to the table. Likewise, The Seen & Heard Experience will curate a personal brand so strong that it moves with them no matter where they are in the corporate world or beyond. This is what will help close the gender and racial gaps for Black women in the corporate space and the trickle-down effect on society at large will be immeasurable.
What’s your story? What made you want to establish Beyond The C-Suite?
For nearly a decade I was a struggling single mom, who faced near homelessness and was on every kind of public assistance you could imagine. Working my way through a full-time MBA program with a full scholarship I graduated early magna cum laude. I was quickly catapulted into a c-suite position and thought I had made it! But in reality, I quickly came to hate it. The microaggressions and the stiff-arming was not for me. It made me miserable and I cried every day. Beyond The C-Suite because I, like so many Black women, have been on the receiving end of the emotional, mental and financial abuse of the workforce. I know far too well what it is to be undervalued and underpaid while having to be the total package inside and outside of the workplace in order to get a morsel of the sponsorship, advancement, and recognition that others receive.
I wanted to create a space that celebrated Black professional women, helped elevate them to powerhouse leaders, and ultimately get them seen and heard on a platform all their own. At Beyond The C-Suite, we believe that every black woman has the right to own her story, command her worth and live her life on purpose with value, security, and peace. Through communications strategy and public relations efforts, we help our clients develop a personal brand that is so strong and so powerful that it positively proceeds them and speaks for them before they enter into any room – and; we do it all from a place of ease, luxury, and feminine authenticity.
For more information on the program click here.