Women’s History Month has arrived! This month we’re proud to honor the many contributions of boss women from all walks of life who have been killing the game in every industry.
Here at My Fab Finance, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to highlight the contributions of a few heavy hitters in the corporate and non-profit sectors.
The added bonus is they all happen to be women of color. We’ll take you through some of the biggest professional triumphs as well as challenges of these women CEOs, with a sprinkle of #blackgirlmagic
Position: Recently appointed Chief Operating Officer of Starbucks. She is the first African American and woman to fill this role at the company.
Background: Rosalind served as CEO of Sam’s Club since 2012. She has been named by Forbes as one of “Most Powerful Women in the World” in 2014, 2015, and 2016. A proud alumna of Spelman College and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, she has earned degrees in chemistry and advanced management degree respectively.
Credited with leading Sam’s Club through its successful leap into the digital age, she was largely recruited to join the senior leadership team at Starbucks to help smooth out their mobile ordering and online payment system among other tech projects in the works for the popular coffee company. She also currently serves on the board of directors at Lockheed Martin.
Challenge: Brewer came under fire back in 2015 when during an interview on CNN, she spoke of her commitment to diversity in hiring at Sam’s Club. She faced backlash from the public, being labeled “racist” and prejudiced against white men. Despite the negative comments, Brewer continues to mentor others, particularly women, and helps to groom them for leadership roles. She has not backed down from her stance that companies need to embrace diversity by diversifying their talent pools.
#blackgirlmagic Quotable: Brewer said. “I try to set an example. I mentor many women inside my company and outside the company because I think it’s important.”
Position: Chief Executive Officer of Dress for Success Worldwide
Background: Joi began her career as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx. Early in her career, she began volunteering at Dress for Success by making suit donations and later joined the organization full time in 1999. It wasn’t until 2002 that she finally took the helm as its CEO.
Under her leadership, the organization has grown to offices in more than 140 cities in 20 countries serving more than 1 million women worldwide.
Challenge: Leaving her cushy and prestigious position as an assistant district attorney early in her career caused some in both her professional and personal circles to question her choices to move into the non-profit space. In an interview with www.heragenda.com, Gordon shared that many saw her decision to leave law as “giving up”. Now, she continues to show those who doubted her career decisions by serving thousands of women all over the world and expanding Dress for Success’ partnerships and programs.
#blackgirlmagic Quotable: “I’ve learned so much through this experience. I think it’s important for women to find within themselves their own inner motivations. If you don’t move forward, you’re standing still. I’ve always believed whether it’s joining boards or getting involved in organization—if you don’t try, you’ll never know what winning might feel like.”
Position: CEO of Jelani Girls, Inc. and Jelani Women, Inc.
Background: A proud graduate of Hampton University, Ashley Company left her position as a District Manager at Pepsi-Co. to start her non-profit, Jelani Girls, Inc., in 2013. She was inspired by her travels throughout Africa and South America and wanted to share the privileges of international travel and service with young girls of color.
In 2015, she founded Jelani Women, a for-profit travel company that curates service trips for professional women of color to African and Caribbean countries. In addition to running a successful non-profit and travel business, Ashley serves in the rank of Captain in the United States Army Reserve.
#blackgirlmagic Quotable: “I help young Black girls re-imagine what it means to be great.”
Challenge: “My biggest challenge as a woman has been working in a male-dominated travel industry with a lot of egos to deal with while doing business across 6 countries in Africa, especially because many people think I look younger than I am. I strive to overcome those challenges by letting my hard work speak for itself and show results. I also identify positive male leadership to work with and cultivate relationships to ensure longevity.”
Blog: My Fab Finance
Contributor: Christina Merriweather