“I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black: it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect.”
If you follow my work, you’ll know that I’m a loud advocate for the transformation of workplace culture, but my approach to my work is rooted in the understanding that transformation must centre marginalised groups in order to be effective and sustainable. For me, that means centering Black women.
At the beginning of this year, I launched a new platform called Konnekted with Sihle Bolani. Konnekted is a membership-based platform for Black professional women. Through the Konnekted programme, I curate a year-long programme made up of practical workshops facilitated by Black women who are experts in their fields with the aim of assisting Black women to develop tools and skills to navigate the workplace, position themselves for promotions, learn the art of negotiation, understand corporate power dynamics and how to use them to your advantage and guided work to help break down self-limiting beliefs, imposter syndrome and all the other internal barriers we’re burdened with.
As the name suggests, at the core of Konnekted is the commitment to create safe spaces for Black women to connect with each other and redefine the quality of relationships they want for themselves. It’s a challenging process because the work that we do requires intentionality and authenticity as we work to not only understand the barriers faced by Black women, but also the layers of trauma we’ve packed into suitcases that we drag everywhere and that ultimately influence our perceptions of the world and each other.
When we begin to heal those traumas and evolve our perceptions, we are able to see value in our collective and begin to show up and vouch for each other passionately, a key step in working towards the creation of an equitable and equal world for Black women; solidarity.
We know that Black women are largely under-valued, under-promoted and underrepresented; we’ve seen the statistics. There are only three Black woman who lead countries in the world; Sahle-Work Zewde (President of Ethiopia), Mia Mottley (Prime Minister of Barbados) and Paula-Mae Weekes (President of Trinidad & Tobago). In the US, there are currently no Black women running Fortune 500 companies and in South Africa, no Black women run JSE-listed companies.
42% of South Africa’s total population is made up of Black women, but that is not reflected in C-suites, meaningful managerial positions, succession plans, leadership of JSE-listed companies or political party leadership.
This reality won’t change until we do and Konnekted is one of my contributions to that change. I want Black women to assert themselves in every space whilst creating room for, and sending out invitations to, more Black women. Our strength and ability to enforce real change lies in leveraging our collective power, influence, resources and networks. We already have it within us, we just need to trust it.
We’re committed to positively impacting the lives and careers of Black women.
Applications for the Class of 2021 open on 02 November 2020.
Platforms & Properties
We Are The Ones We Need
The Workplace Revolution