MAKERS 2021 Kickoff Event - Ja'Nay Hawkins

MAKERS 2021 Kickoff Event - Ja'Nay Hawkins

Video Transcript

- I thought the only two parts of your success equation was intelligence and hard work ethic. And that was not the case. I don't care how hard you work, I don't care how smart you are. When you get more senior in your career, you're going to need somebody who behind closed doors is going to speak passionately on your behalf.

CYNT MARSHALL: We need more women represented at all tables. And our job as leaders is to meet them where they are and then to embrace all of that uniqueness, all of that authenticity, mix it all up, and deliver great results for people.

VERNA MYERS: Making a commitment was a good start.

MONIKA PIERCE: We needed to do more than to just set a goal.

IJE -ENU: So we said enough is not enough, we need to do more.

WENDY LEWIS: Lack Makers Act is a unique opportunity for Maker's board members to support and partner with Black women who are ready for the c-suite

JA'NAY HAWKINS: Black women leaders have been selected by our Makers at board members to be a part of this new initiative.

- Board members have committed to take specific actions to accelerate the presence of Black women in positions of leadership.

IJE -ENU: To invest in time and resources to creating pathways to opportunity.

VERNA MYERS: To allow Black women to take up the space they deserve and to do and show their best.

- We have to elevate Black women leaders because if we were all free to tap into our potential.

cassandra knight: If Black women were free.

VERNA MYERS: Free to be themselves, and to celebrate all that they have achieved, and for it to be valued.

- That would mean everyone else would also be free.

VERNA MYERS: Maybe that would mean the oppression would lift for all of us because of the systems that keep us from appreciating each other would be once and for all taken down.

JA'NAY HAWKINS: Hello good people, and Happy Black History Month. Last year, our nation faced a deep reckoning with social and racial injustices that exposed truths that led to unimaginable conversations in the workplace that I now believe are prompting people to make intrinsic transformations and allow time for much needed healing. While the world took action, our board members asked very curious questions about what was next and what real impact needed to happen to see true equity realized in corporate America.

So we created something that has never been done before, Black Makers that is designed to advocate for and accelerate the representation promotion and equity of Black women in the workplace. It's a safe space for these brilliant leaders to lean into one another, be authentically themselves, and celebrate their power. This is a tremendous opportunity too for our board members to also take the feedback back to their companies and demand changes for women who quite frankly deserve to be in whatever positions they desire simply because they've earned it. The days of us wondering what goes on in highly guarded and exclusive boardrooms, and if leaders are advocating on our behalf has to come to an end.

In this moment, I salute the board members who have committed to this initiative and are vowing to take action. And to the sisters in the Black Makers Art initiative. We see you and we hear you. The load we carry is indeed heavy, but we have to keep going. Everybody, we're just getting started, and there's more to come at our next virtual event. And now in the spirit of celebrating Black women, I have the privilege of introducing two dynamic powerhouses who have redefined the words bad ass and troublemaker, here to share their perspectives on bringing your whole self to work, owning your space, and that also beautiful Black girl magic. Here's Bozoma St. John and Luvvie Ajayi Jones.