PR expert Yolanda Caraway is the president and CEO of The Caraway Group, a minority woman-owned communications and public affairs consulting firm that specializes in diversity counsel and outreach, with offices in Washington, D.C., and New York.
The Caraway Group was founded in 1987, Since then, she has led her team in the counseling of many high-profile Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit and government agencies and influential individuals in every aspect of communications strategy.
With more than 25 years of experience, Caraway has served as deputy assistant political director for the Mondale-Ferraro ’84 general election; director of the DNC’s Fairness Commission (1985); chief of staff of the National Rainbow Coalition, the 1988 Jesse Jackson presidential campaign and deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee under chairman Paul G. Kirk. She also played a pivotal role in the historic election of the late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown to chair the DNC.
Caraway has solidified her place in the public relations and public affairs industry. She is known for her keen sense of policy-making, political management and public relations work in government and the nonprofit and private sectors.
Join us as we highlight her below.
As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?
I have a superpower that instinctively knows how to connect people. Often, when I meet someone and we engage in conversation, I immediately think of someone to connect them to who will be an asset to them either personally or professionally.
What key skills or qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?
I’m a good listener; I’m good at analyzing situations and finding solutions.
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Things don’t always work out as you’ve planned so always have a plan B.
If you could thank any Black woman history maker for her contributions to society, who would it be and why?
There are two: Harriet Tubman and Shirley Chisholm. Both unbought and unbossed!
Why is it important for seasoned and experienced Black women to reach back and help younger women of color?
We have so much we can teach them. I meet young women all the time who are craving for mentors and experienced women who they can learn from.
How do you feel about the hashtag #CollaborationOverCompetition? What qualities or values do you deem indispensable in your business partners or collaborators?
Whenever I collaborate I bring someone to the table that, first — I trust, but it also needs to be someone who brings something to the table that is very different from what I bring.
What are your thoughts on taking risks?
I am an entrepreneur. We are all risk takers.
What are three success habits you implement into your daily routine to maintain your success, sanity, peace of mind, etc.?
When I wake up I give thanks to God. I make sure I eat something for breakfast every day. And I take small breaks during the day.
As a successful woman in business, what is your greatest or proudest achievement?
My proudest achievements seem to grow year after year. My most recent proudest achievement is Power Rising 2018 — a summit for Black women that was held in Atlanta at the end of February. A group of Black professional women came together and decided we needed to bring Black women together. It was the most amazing, humbling experience of my life.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?
My niece, Clarke. She’s 18 and about to graduate from high school. She’s such an amazing young woman. She could be the next Venus Williams, but she decided on her own that she didn’t want to go pro, which she had trained for, for years. She wants to make Anime programming. For a young Black girl to have the courage not to choose the “money” and choose her passion — that is a total inspiration to me.
If you could have any person in the world become your mentor, who would you choose and why?
I have the best mentor I could ever ask for — Cicely Tyson. She is the most amazing human being I’ve ever met.