“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” —Steven Spielberg
As non-Black Americans and businesses are asked to reexamine themselves and the roles they play in the marginalization of Black people, I have been asked many questions by my well-meaning friends, colleagues, and professional network about how I succeeded and what makes me “different.” In other words: How did you reach the summit of the corporate world, where there are so few people who look like you?
While I am happy to answer them, my experience as a Black woman—and specifically in corporate America—does not make me a spokesperson for every Black person. My path does not guarantee that there is a one-size-fits-all recipe to success that one can point to and replicate. But hopefully I can highlight for others some of the key contributing factors.
As a female CEO of a luxury lifestyle and wellness brand (one founded by an iconic Caucasian woman, Donna Karan), my position would not be as notable if I were not Black. I am not sure who is more aware of my color—me, my employees, or …