Women of power: embrace your power now.

Author:Graves, Earl G., Jr.
Position:Executive Memo - Conference notes

We at black enterprise are extremely excited that more than 1,000 African American women, like you, will be descending upon Hollywood, Florida, to attend our annual Women of Power Summit this year from March 9-12. You clearly represent those who have employed intellect industry, and ingenuity to make remarkable professional achievements--in some cases, overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles. As such, we have designed a safe haven for bonding and mentorship; career and business education; life management and spiritual renewal.

This year's theme couldn't be more appropriate given our current times: "Know Your Worth ... Own Your Truth ... Embrace Your Power! " The sad fact is that far too many African American women do not achieve the same level of clout as their white and male counterparts. Even though studies reveal black women outpace white women in educational attainment, an alarming percentage have been relegated to lower-paying, non-managerial positions--a nagging trend that has persisted for roughly 30 years. To compound matters, another report uncovered that, on average, single black women have only a penny of wealth for every dollar of wealth owned by black men and a fraction of a cent for every dollar of wealth owned by white women.

I share these stats not to mute the well-deserved applause for your impressive accomplishments. Instead, this dilemma should energize you to further lift your status and that of other women of color. I fully appreciate all your journeys, struggles, and triumphs from your examples--and even more significantly, from the important women in my life: my late mother, Barbara, whose sage lessons and love serve as a daily source of inspiration; my loving wife, whose advice and unwavering support allows me to achieve success and stay focused; and my enthusiastic, forward-looking twin daughters, Erika and Kristin, who provide updates on the latest tech innovations and social media trends as well as fuel my passion to build a legacy for future generations. (In fact I beam with pride that Kristin has recently decided to join the BLACK ENTERPRISE family in our Digital division.)

So as you meet the constant challenge of balancing your upward climb in business environments often marked by institutional racism and sexism and your role as familial nerve center, I implore all of you to design the life you want. It...

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