All Articles Tagged "african american businesswomen"
These days YouTube is filled with how-to videos on natural hair of all textures and most of us can point to one of our favorite blogging gurus for the best natural hair tips. But before the videos and the blogs, the Detroit Free Press says Sheila Everett-Hale was a pioneer in the natural hair realm. The Detroit native started her business, Everett’s Natural Beauty Salon, in 1995 and now also holds classes at her Everett’s Natural Hair and Beauty School which opened in January. Her students come from across the country and some even join the class from Skype.
“This is not a fad, like during the black power movement of the 1960s,” Everett-Hale said to the Detroit Free Press. “Women are saying, ‘Our hair is our glory and God didn’t make any mistakes in what he gave us.’ ”
But Everett-Hale isn’t the only natural hair pioneer still pressing her way to business success in the growing industry. She is also joined by Nefertiti Harris and Chris-Tia Donaldson. Harris, who has been doing natural hair for 18 years, is the proud owner of Textures by Nefertiti. Her shop has grown from including just one other stylist in 2003 to five stylists in a new 1,100 square foot space.
“There’s more of an acceptance of natural hair,” she said. “There’s a young population that’s more educated, more aware … and a lot more creative about how they’re wearing their hair.
Donaldson agrees that natural hair is now the norm. She’s written the book, “Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair,” which is now in its fourth printing edition. Recently Donaldson also launched her own hair care product line.
“We have over 75,000 fans on Facebook, 15,000 Twitter followers, and over 2 million blog views, making us one of the fastest-growing social networks for African-American women interested in natural hair and healthy lifestyles,” she said.
As Harris points out, “after you accept you for you, other people will say, ‘You look so beautiful.’ That’s so nice. There’s a fearlessness that comes with embracing yourself naturally.”
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By Jenée Desmond-Harris
These 20 black female business leaders have all shared the same title: chief executive officer. But they’re also known as mentors, philanthropists and role models with business savvy and ambition that transcend race and gender. During Women’s History Month, we took a look at their career trajectories and history-making successes.
She started off paying her dues as a summer intern with Xerox in 1980. By the looks of her career trajectory, she hasn’t stopped working hard since. In 2007 Burnsbecame president of the company, and in 2009 she was named CEO. She didn’t waste any time before making the largest acquisition in Xerox history and accepting an invitation from Barack Obama to chair the President’s Export Council.
With a production capacity of 7.8 million tons annually, ArcelorMittal South Africa is the biggest steel producer on the African continent, and CEO Nyembezi-Heita has overseen it all since taking on her leadership role with the company in 2008. Her master’s degrees in business administration and science give her the tools to keep the mining giant going in a tough economy, and her extensive business background — including a previous role as chief officer of mergers and acquisitions for the Vodacom Group — probably doesn’t hurt, either.
Check out these phenomenal women and their accomplishments at The Root.com.
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Today, the PR industry is dominated by women. It’s certainly one of the few areas in small business where women rule. Michelle Flowers Welch is not just an example of a women in pr success story but stands as an example of a black women successfully crafting a career in multicultural marketing and public relations. She launched her firm, Flowers Communications Group, twenty years ago. Since she launched her own business, she tells mediabistro that she has seen an improvement in multicultural marketing although it is still a work in progress.
“When I first started the company and even prior to that, it was a hard sell to get corporations to see the need to develop specific, authentic programs to reach African American and Latino consumers. It was almost like people would see the numbers but not yet the importance of changing the communications approach to reach that consumer base. Many thought they could use the same strategic approach, take the same ad, and plug in people of color, and put it in publications of color.”
Flowers originally wanted to go into journalism but got steered into PR by a guidance counselor. She went on to work with the Chicago Urban League and then to the big agency GolinHarris. She followed that impressive experience by moving on to Burrell Communications where she served as SVP.
Flowers eventually set up her own boutique agency in 1992 to target multicultural audiences and has successfully sustained a foothold in the competitive industry.
Finding clothes that fits your personal style is one thing; but as entrepreneur Keena Williams shares, finding the right accessories to accentuate and complete the ensemble is “the icing on the cake.”
“It was Rachel Zoe who said, ‘A dress is just a dress until you add the jewels,’ and that is my philosophy as well,” Williams tells Black Enterprise. The young, fly diva is taking accessories to the next level with her boutique and online store, So Excessive.
The Newark, NJ native has been obsessed with jewelry since her teenage days, and used her business savvy to sell accessories and share her passion with her fashionable peers in high school. Now, she’s combined her creative spirit and entrepreneurial abilities to open her own boutique in her hometown.
“I saw a void in the marketplace for an accessories boutique,” she said of her choice in location. “Newark is going through a metamorphosis right now and there are some really great things going on within the city. I definitely wanted So Excessive to be a part of that.”
Not only was there space for business growth in Newark, the stylish entrepreneur is a firm believer in community-building revenue and offering consumer access. So Excessive stays on top of the market by providing exceptional customer service and jewelry education.
“With each purchase, we share how to care for their accessories, tips on wearing them and introduce them to products such as Lobe Wonder, which is a great one for women who wear heavy earrings. Our goal is to be a resource for our customers as well as a place to shop,” she tells Black Enterprise.
The So Excessive boutique also hosts events to provide customers with networking opportunities while they shop. For those avid jewelry lovers who don’t live in Newark but still want a chance to rock Williams’ creations, she has created an online store to showcase and sell her merchandise.
As a successful and passionate African American businesswoman, Williams also has a few tips to leave with aspiring retail entrepreneurs.
“Great customer service is key,” she said. “This is at the top of the list. No one wants to shop where the staff isn’t friendly.”
Listening to customer feedback is also important, as well as staying abreast of trends and researching the market. Lastly, Williams stresses that a support system is essential.
“Starting a business can be an emotional roller coaster,” she said to Black Enterprise. “There will be plenty of times where you will need support or a shoulder to lean on.”
On Friday Reuters reports that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has named Rosalind Brewer president and chief executive of Sam’s Club warehouse retail chain. This marks a historic time for both women and the black community in the corporate space. It is the first time that Wal-Mart, one of the world’s largest retailers, will have a woman and an African American heading one of its three business entities.
Friday was a successful day for two other women employees at Wal-Mart. Gisel Ruiz became the US chief operating officer and Karenann Terrell became Wal-Mart’s chief information officer. These promotions support its case that women are treated equally at the large corporation. Last year the US Supreme Court ruled against a class-action lawsuit brought on by women who claimed that female employees were subject to discrimination in receiving raises and promotions from the company.
Brewer graduated from Spelman College in 1984. She joined Wal-Mart as a regional vice president in 2006. Most recently Brewer headed Wal-Mart’s US East Coast operations. In this role she oversaw over $100 million in revenue each year and was responsible for more than 500,000 employees and nearly 1,600 stores. Sam’s Club is smaller than the Wal-Mart division Brewer previously supervised. It has 610 stores and last year brought in $49 billion in fiscal sales.
Brewer received the position shortly after her predecessor, Brian Cornell, decided he and his wife wanted to move back to the Northeast to be closer to their children. Brewer will begin her new position in Wal-Mart’s Bentonville, Arkansas base on February 1.
(Black Enterprise) — Paula Madison: The journalist turned corporate diversity trailblazer has ascended the ranks from local newspaper reporter to current Executive Vice President of Diversity for NBC Universal and Company Officer for General Electric. Madison’s extensive media experience—20-plus years—has led her to become the first senior executive to be assigned diversity as a sole responsibility in the corporation’s history. As one of Black Enterprise’s 75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America, the Harlem native has raked up her share of accomplishments and awards such as a 1996 Peabody Award for WNBC’s investigation, A License to Kill, the Anti-Defamation League’s 2003 Deborah Award, Citizen of the Year Award from the City of Los Angeles Marathon in 2004, The Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s First Amendment Service Award and the Houston Association of Black Journalists’ Pinnacle Award in 2008, to name a few.