Leadership and Women of Colour

This post was first written in May 2015, and thanks to Bridget C. Williams - Thanks!

Since re-reading my post, I have decided to do some further research to see where we currently stand and look at what has changes have occurred in the last two years.  Stay tuned!

Taking Risks:  Nine months ago I made one of the biggest decision of my life to step outside myself and take on the scariest thing I have ever done for me. "Flying Solo Professionally." Leaving one of the safest and secure jobs with the Nova Scotia Government was bold and tenacious. Why? As an immigrant and a woman of colour, management positions don't come very easily. I walked away from mine.

Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity are words people find difficult to engage with because they are still viewed in the narrowest of terms. Being valued for what we bring to the table is yet to be discovered or recognized. So for many women of colour, even though we're highly qualified and accomplished, senior executive, director, and manager positions continues to exclude us.

Our participation at every level of decision-making is a democratic right and yet we're absent.  It is unclear who represents or speak to our interest.  It was Hilary Clinton who said, "Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in our world." In Nova Scotia, I believe women of colour are part of that large untapped resource to be discovered.

In order for may of us to achieve our ambitions, passion and purpose, we will have to create opportunities for ourselves. We will have to become our own CEOs.  Taking risks and starting our own businesses is a major step forward to having our voices heard. Creating our own networks, joining networking initiatives, forming allies and aligning ourselves with like-minded people is the only way forward.

Becoming entrepreneurs is our way to pursue our innovative and creative desires. As women of colour, we face unique challenges to starting and running businesses successfully such as racism, lack of information, lack of financial capital and appropriate legal advice. Accessing good business mentors is also critical when starting up a business, and for many women of colour,  we never get the valuable introduction or guidance to propel us forward.

The good news is that none of these structural barriers has prevented us from moving forward. As women of colour, we have always done business among ourselves. through home-based businesses,  we have raised our own capital,  borrow from family and friends, and used our personal savings to succeed. We even export and import products which promote our province.

Networking, participating, showing up and taking our position in those formal or informal arenas= will help us become more visible, give voice to our issues, and help change mindsets.  

Thanks to all those who have mentored, encouraged and supported me. Shared their journey, of success, failure and starting over again.