Black women in professional settings are often underpaid, underappreciated, and overworked. These issues are compiled by microagressions that plague our people in environments where our presence isn’t always valued even when our labor is. Despite these obstacles, Black women have excelled in education, entrepreneurship, and corporate leadership in ways that evidence our expertise, wisdom, and determination. Much of what we can accomplish is based on our abilities to mentor (and be mentored) by other Black women.
Some of my clients that work in spaces where there are few Black folks, often ask how they can support themselves in these environments. I have said before, and I will say again that “heavy is too heavy to carry alone.” One of the first things we should do in our professional settings is to find and nurture relationships that can support our wellbeing. Here are several ways that Black professionals can find community.
Join professional organizations: Many professional organizations, such as the National Black Women's Health Project or the National Council of Negro Women, offer support and resources for Black women academics.
Connect with other Black women academics: Attend conferences, workshops, and other events where Black women academics are present and actively seek out opportunities to network and connect with others. (Are we connected on LinkedIn yet?)
Seek out mentorship: Find a mentor who is a Black woman academic and can offer guidance, support, and advice.
Participate in online communities: There are many online communities, such as forums and social media groups, that are specifically designed for Black women academics to connect and support each other.
Consider joining a research group or consortium: Research groups and consortia can provide a sense of community and support for Black women academics as they work on projects and engage in research. For example, I can't speak highly enough of Sisters in Education Circle--SEIC.
Do these things to connect with community today. And remember, that you can always join my group coaching opportunities to connect with other like-minded women today!