February is Black History Month in the US, and with our upcoming Women Thrive Summit, we thought this would be a wonderful time to highlight inspiring women of color from around the world. It is time for all of us to come together, empower each other and create a positive global impact. It is time to build partnerships, alliances and collaborations, globally and locally, whilst embracing our differences and working towards one common goal – to be an all inclusive society and follow positive business practices.
Because everyone deserves a seat at the table.
No matter where you have come from, or the experiences you had in your life, you have every right to be where you are and to continue to climb and reach all your dreams.
Kamala Harris has made history by being the United States’s first female Vice President. She is currently the highest ranking female elected official in U.S. history, and is also the first African American and first Asian American Vice President.
She has had an incredibly successful career as a U.S senator, Attorney General of California, and District Attorney of San Francisco. As a senator, she advocated for healthcare reform, a ban on assault weapons, citizenship for undocumented immigrants, progressive tax reform, and so much more.
The wonderful thing about Harris assuming the office of the 49th Vice President of the United States, is that no matter which political view women have had, all seem to have come together to recognize the incredible moment this is. Now, girls and women from all backgrounds, views, and skin color can look to Vice President Harris and know that they can be just like her. No matter what, dreams are valid, hopes can come true, and any girl can be whatever she wants to be.
Alison Hammond is an English TV personality and actress. She is currently a reporter and presenter on ITV’s This Morning. Growing up, Alison participated in drama workshops, but a lack of funds ended her dreams of attending drama school.
As a born comedian, Alison quickly found her way back into show biz by appearing on TV shows such as; Big Brother, Strictly Come Dancing, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, Celebrity MasterChef, etc.
She has an extensive list of films, guest appearances, and has even dabbled in voice acting as the face of online bingo site Crown Bingo, and a character in the animated film Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.
Alison is a wonderful example of what it means to never give up. When it seemed like she wouldn’t be able to reach her dreams and would be stuck as a manager for Tupperware, she persevered and never lost hope.
As a member of the United States fencing team, Ibtihaj Muhammad is known for winning an Olympic bronze medal while being the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the U.S. According to The Guardian, Ibtihaj became, “one of the best symbols against intolerance American can ever have.” In 2014, Ibtihaj and her siblings launched Louella, a clothing company aimed at bringing modest fashion to the U.S. market.
She also serves as a sports ambassador on the U.S. Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sport Initiative. Ibtihaj believes that by continuing to wear her hijab while fencing, she would inspire women and young girls around the world. She is a role model for breaking boundaries and proving that all things can be done while wearing a hijab.
In 2017, Mattel introduced a line of female role model Barbies with one in Ibtihaj’s likeness; wearing a hijab and being a fencer. Ibtihaj said that this reinforced her belief that young girls and boys should see themselves represented in toys. In 2014, Ibtihaj and her siblings launched Louella, a clothing company aimed at bringing modest fashion to the U.S. market. She is truly an inspiring woman of color.
Dame Sharon White DBE
Dame Sharon White DBE is currently the Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership located in London, England. She has had a wonderful career in the business world after she was the Chief Executive of Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator.
Before her time with Ofcom, she was Second Permanent Secretary at the
Treasury and also held Board level positions at the Ministry of Justice and the Department for International Development. Sharon has worked as an advisor at the Prime Minsiter’sPolicy Unit and was a senior economist at the World Bank in Washington D.C.
Sharon has been recognized many times as being one of the most powerful Black British people in the UK by The Voice and Powerlist. In the 2020 New Year Honours, Sharon was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for public service.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex is an American member of the British royal family and former actress. As an actress Meghan struggled getting roles. “I wasn’t Black enough for the Black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones.” In July 2011, Meghan landed her role as Rachel Zane on Suits, the character she is most known for.
The Duchess of Sussex prides herself on her charity work and advocacy. She has worked with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, a fierce fighter for women’s rights and social justice, and an overall supporter of those in need. In April 2020, the Duchess personally delivered food to Los Angeles residents during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Duchess has been an easy target for racism in the UK and has sparked conversation of social justice globally. She has continued to handle all the criticism with confidence and grace and has continued to be open about her personal conflicts. She is a true inspiration for women around the world.
Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE
Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE is a British space scientist. Jumping between 13 schools growing up, and being diagnosed with dyslexia, Dr. Adrein-Pocock never gave up on her dreams of studying the vast expanse of the universe.
Along with sharing her intensive knowledge with adults, Dr. Aderin-Pocock dedicates her life to teaching children that space is just a look up. She has set up her own company based around giving children a tour of the universe.
Following her BBC specials in 2010/2011, Dr. Aderin-Pocock received criticism for being part of BBC’s “political correctness”. She said, “And I thought I’ve studied, I’ve got a degree, a PhD, I have been working in the field for a number of years and yet I am still not qualified because I am Black?!” Dr. Adrein-Pocock has been fighting this notion by inspiring young Black children that, “to be a scientist isn’t an odd thing… Many kids will see Black sports people, Black singers, but they won’t see a Black scientist and so they eliminate that from their hit list of things to do.”
Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a wonderful example of what it means to continue to share your knowledge with the world even though some may give you criticism for it. She is also an inspiring role model for young Black children because science doesn’t care what your skin color is. Go out there, find your passion, and do what you love. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2009 New Year Honours for services to science education.
As a 22 year old poet and activist, Amanda Gorman graced the world with her poem, “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden. Her work focuses on feminism, race, African diaspora, marginalization, climate change,
andissues of oppression. She is the youngest poet to read at a presidential inauguration in U.S. history.
When Amanda was younger she said she had difficulty speaking, and has spent years practicing various letters. According to Amanda, just two years ago she struggled with her speech, but despite this she perfectly recited her poem in front of millions of people on January 20, 2021.
Gorman has said that she hopes to run for President in 2036 (when she will be old enough to do so) and after her poem Hillary Clinton tweeted her support of this dream. Gorman continues to inspire generations by standing up for what she believes in, continuing to be the Founder of One Pen One Page, a nonprofit for youth writing and leadership, and continues to be an outspoken support of lifting up all those who are not yet equal. ‘Madame President Gorman has a nice ring to it indeed’, she joked on her recent interview with CNN.
“You see, our glorious diversity – our diversity of faiths, and colors and creeds – that is not a threat to who we are, it makes us who we are.” – Michelle Obama
It’s time we break away from only having one Black History Month, and come to realize that celebrating, uplifting, and highlighting all women of color should be a daily action. We are committed to promoting diversity year round.
At Women in Business Club, we are a community of female entrepreneurs who see no boundaries for any women no matter their background, skin color, or experiences. Together, we will break any glass ceiling above us and help other women do the same.
If you would like to read more about inspiring women in business please check out our blog on Women to Watch in 2021 or join our waiting list for the upcoming Women Thrive Summit below.
J. Rachel West
Marketing Executive | Women Thrive Media
Rachel West is a marketing & branding devotee who loves empowering women in business. She is a “she-boss” running her own marketing agency, JRW Consulting LLC. When she's not at her desk you can find her traveling the world.