Mediapreneur Lisa Williams sat down with several Top African-American female entrepreneurs to discuss the challenges unique to Black women in business, and how they reached a level of success in spite of many of them being first-generation business owners.
The women were chosen and highlighted for their accomplishments, and for leading by example while pressing through sometimes difficult times. The interviews took place as part of an effort to highlight some of today’s leading women who are part of the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs in the U.S. Williams interviewed 22 prominent African-American business women who spoke about how they grew their businesses.
Williams pointed out in the interviews that “One of the greatest challenges African-American women face in business is the lack of successful black businesswomen role models in our communities that we can actually call on and get advice from.”
The women who were interviewed came from many different fields including the technology sector, media, law, entertainment, beauty, non-profit, business, real estate, medical and many more.
The women included:
• Cheryl Contee is the CEO of Fission Strategy, a marketing/social media/branding company that specializes in helping nonprofits, foundations and social enterprises to create global change; and Attentive.ly, a rising tech startup.
• Cathy Hughes is the former CEO of Radio One and is currently the board chair and secretary of the largest African-American owned and operated broadcast company in the U.S.
• Asmau Ahmed is the creator of Plum Perfect, a search engine and technology that allows users to upload a selfie and receive makeup shade recommendations to match and complement their complexion the technology also does much more.
• Zandra Cunningham is a 15 year old Founder of Zandra Beauty and an already accomplished entrepreneur who makes and sells soaps, scrubs, hair care products and lotions.
• Lisa Nicole Bell is the founder of Intersect Studios, an internationally-known media and technology company.
• Dr. Simone Ellis, DDS is a general dentist and the owner of Smile Design Studios in Missouri City, Texas.
• Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is a physicist and assistant professor at Tuskegee University who recently earned a $1.1 million research grant to develop an innovative cancer treatment.
• Julie Gordon is the founder and CEO of The Well For Women Entrepreneurs as well as BlueKey Media Group, a publishing and speaking company.
• Dr. Sadie Sheafe is a licensed psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, a board-certified clinical sexologist, and a licensed clinical social worker in Hampton, Virginia.
• LaQuita Sharee Lewis-Poole is a lifestyle/business coach and the founder of LSLP Global Empowerment LLC
• Nicole Hancock Husband is an attorney and a certified professional co-active coach in Los Angeles.
• Debra Mars is the CCO of GiftedbyDezyn, a promotional products and services agency, which is also an emerging business partner with the NFL.
• Dr. Dina D. Strachan, MD is the director of Aglow Dermatology; she is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology in New York.
• Tallulah Marcelin is a celebrity hairstylist, makeup artist and owner of I Love Lulu Hair Spa in Los Angeles, an all-natural, holistic hair salon hair care line.
• Courtney Johnson Rose is the Principal Broker of George E. Johnson Properties, a full service real estate firm specializing in residential and commercial services in Houston, TX.
• Dominique Broadway is an award-winning personal finance expert and money therapist, and founder of Finances De*Mys*Ti*Fied.
• Monique Cardine is a TV and radio personality, and the CEO of Momentum Media Group, an award-winning, multi-faceted media company in San Marcos, Texas.
• Rhonda Wilkins is a 20-year veteran in the entertainment industry, and CEO of Divas Unlimited Inc., an Atlanta-based event marketing and production boutique.
• Dr. Roshawnna Novellus is a Wealth & Mindfulness Multiplier, Business Strategist, and owner of Novellus Financial, a firm that provides business consulting and financial strategy to businesses; and also the Co-Founder of Bootstrap Capital.
• Keisha Jackson, daughter of legendary soul singer, Millie Jackson is the CEO of One Voice Entertainment a vocal coaching agency that assist aspiring vocalists in the U.S. southern region and around the world.
• Delores Bunch-Keemer is the Executive Director of Giving A Hand, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides non-profit agencies, and public schools with resources such as food, clothing, medical and office supplies.
• Nicole Garner Scott is the principal of The Garner Circle PR and the Founder and President of a digital community for women 100 Female Entrepreneurs.
Williams had the opportunity to interview Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, who at 34 is one of fewer than 100 black female physicists in the country. Dr. Green recently won a $1.1 million grant to further develop a technology she’s pioneered that uses laser-activated nanoparticles to treat cancer.
Williams said, “As black women, we have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, from our great grandmothers and grandmothers cleaning houses for a living, to women hosting bus trips and church fish fries. Now it’s time to talk about today’s entrepreneurial women, their experiences as business owners, both the good and the not so good.”
Cathy Hughes, the legendary founder of Radio One, the only African-American owned cable television network in the country, said this about the interview, “When I got your request, I was like, ‘I’d be honored to do this sisters show.’ You were supportive enough to want to tell my story, and I was supportive enough to do it. Sisters really do support one another.”
The women who were interviewed discussed how they overcame challenges in business; what they did when they got stuck, when they wanted to quit, when they didn’t know how to access capital and when they became overwhelmed and didn’t know where to turn.
Williams started the interviews by speaking about leading African-American women such as First Lady Michelle Obama, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Sheila C. Johnson — the founder of BET and the first African-American female billionaire and Ursula Burns, the first African-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. These are examples of women who were among the first to achieve their level of success.
Williams shared a recent statistic that women-owned businesses are exploding across the country with a 74 percent growth between 1997 and 2015, and focused on the fact that African-American women entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs in the U.S. With such statistics in mind, Williams was inspired to bring these women together to help African-American women business owners, as she puts it, to “not just be in business but grow their businesses.”
Williams’ ultimate goal was to reveal these answers and make them available for other women to learn from and to help them build their own success.
The interviews will be available on Williams’ Business Innovators Radio program in March 2016 at http://tinyurl.com/BIRLisaWilliams and can also be found on iTunes.
For more information about Lisa Williams, visit http://avantgardewomen.com/
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