You Can’t Be It If You Can’t See It
I am a big believer that you can’t be it if you can’t see it. The importance of role models for the youth or for anyone is powerful. How can young women or young man aspire to be a CEO, a founder, an entrepreneur and the works if they can’t point to someone else’s success? The same goes for Latinos and African-Americans.
A woman sent me an email who works Fight for Hope, a site dedicated to inspiring America’s youth by showing them successful African American role models. They built this to promote the accomplishments of individuals who have risen above life’s adversities to become successful business people. They hope these role models inspire the youth to stay out of trouble and do great things with their lives.
They continue to update the page regularly and will continue adding successful entrepreneurs to the list. If it really a great site and worth a look. There are many videos on the site with tidbits from many successful African American entrepreneurs. There are a few below.
Great blog and good resource list of videos! And- yes, to your point, you can’t be it if you can’t see it- let me recite a quick story. I coach Leaders and I also specialize in coaching diverse Leaders. About 14 years ago, I had a meeting with the Head of Diversity at a moderate size progressive law firm that has a large office in NYC. The Head of Diversity told me that associate attorneys of color who had been just been hired were picking up their heads as they came into the Firm and noticing that there was no one else at the place who looked like them. Everyone else was white. These lawyers of Color were making a decision- the Firm found out- to work for the Firm for two years to get started and pay down law school debt- and then leave the Firm to be around folks who looked more like them. Most people don’t have it in them to be Jackie Robinson. My take away was and is that companies and firms who are committed to diversity need to hire groups of women and people of color- don’t just hire one person who turns out to be the one and only. Nothing changes that way. This is not affirmative action- this is right-sizing the balance to align it with the population of the US and the world. Other research tells us that organizations make better business decisions when these organizations are more diverse.
Diversity is key to everything
Stories have power! Thanks so much for sharing. I work on a similar initiative, wogrammer.org, to amplify the voices of women in engineering around the world. Our favorite comments are those from young women who are inspired to pursue/persist in engineering after reading stories of the female role models we showcase.
you can. you just have to look in the mirror and have self belief. you are it.