A year ago, I stumbled across an article in Fortune called “The Black Ceiling.” It featured an interview with Ursula Burns, the long beloved CEO of Xerox, who was retiring. With Ms. Burns’ departure, there would be no black women heading Fortune 500 companies—and no pipeline of candidates for the foreseeable future.
Ms. Burns addressed numerous reasons why: lack of education, black women taking on roles that don’t lead to C-Suite, lack of wealth, and the overall demands of family and her personal community.
I did some deep thinking that led to a serious aha moment: the issues Ms. Burns detailed were things I’d seemed to circumvent in my career. I’d started my business at 16, and by 25, I’d made over a million dollars from my ‘passion project.’ I’d created freedom, flexibility, wealth, and enough time to spend with loved ones.
I decided the best thing I could do to create the next generation of black female leaders was to give women advice on how to become one. When I needed help or advice, I had a tribe of amazing friends I could tap to help me. How could I bring their insights and advice to other women who wanted to launch, grow, and lead companies? That was the impetus for Elevation Tribe–community, content, and experience focused on women of color who want to launch, grow, and lead companies.
I can’t tell you how inspired I’ve been creating this new venture and by the women in these pages, their journeys, and their advice for you. Our cover features one of the most inspiring women I’ve ever met, Keisha Smith-Jeremie, the new Chief People Officer at Tory Burch and the founder of sanaia, the best applesauce you’ll ever have. Keisha proves it’s possible to have a full-time career and build an amazing side hustle.
I am also beyond inspired by my team, led by the incomparable Stephanie Smith, who poured their hearts into creating this magazine for you.