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‘I Had Never Been Any Place Where Black Women Were Running Things’

Black Women in Business

‘I Had Never Been Any Place Where Black Women Were Running Things’

Lauren Williams, the features editor at Essence, on the importance of mentorship in an industry short on diversity

A common piece of professional advice is to find a good mentor. But sometimes, that simple guidance is difficult to follow. For women and people of color attempting to forge careers in predominantly white or male-dominated industries, seeking out a mentor can be more challenging: Research has shown that mentors tend to choose mentees who remind them of themselves. And young mentees tend to be most comfortable with those who are from similar backgrounds.

On a larger scale, a lack of mentorship can compound an industry’s diversity problem, giving many younger professionals few people to champion or guide them, and causing them to leave a company or field before they ever reach an organization’s upper echelon.

Lauren Williams, who is 30 years old, works in media, an industry where diversity can be hard to come by toward the top of organizational charts. For anAtlantic series on mentorship, I recently spoke with Williams, the features editor at Essence and a newly-minted fellow at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism, about her experiences in media and how…

Please read original article – ‘I Had Never Been Any Place Where Black Women Were Running Things’


I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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What Does It Mean To Be “Black Butterfly Beautiful”

The image of the butterfly has come to define the many expressions of the feminine black consciousness and for a good reason. The butterfly is the perfect articulation of the exquisite beauty of nature. Whether tiny or large, brightly colored or more subdued, the butterfly’s allure is undeniable. Each one displays its own unique patterns and hues, and no one species outshines any other.

Similarly, there is no one ideal image of a black woman -- each is gorgeous in her right. All African-Americans share a glorious history of struggle and perseverance that has funneled into the modern black renaissance. And, like the graceful butterfly, the awakened black woman exemplifies the dazzling beauty of that cultural evolution.

Flying High

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