Yolanda White was one of the most powerful corporate figures in Atlanta. As global group director, Sparkling Brands, White had risen effortlessly through the ranks at Coca-Cola delivering successful marketing campaigns for various brands throughout the corporate giant for almost two decades.
After being a rock star for one of Atlanta’s staple corporate brands for seventeen years, White decided to make the jump from the corporate culture to trying her hand at entrepreneurship. After some soul searching she decided to launch her own luxury loungewear line for women named Dayo, which means happiness or joy has arrived. The title is synonymous with where White sees herself as she takes her corporate know-how and creates her own legacy.
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
My advice to my younger self would be to take risks, speak up even when it’s not the most popular point of view in the room and never settle. And, I would probably add, travel the world as much as you can and fight for love!
Why is it important for women of color to lead or work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?
Women of color in leadership roles have a significant impact on the culture of an organization and the lives of other women in multiple ways. The first, is that these women serve as an inspiration for other women to believe that they can achieve success, which gives them hope that they too can success. Second, they are a voice to drive change by actively opening doors for the next generation and elevating issues and opportunities that exists. And last, they are able to share learnings and insights to help others succeed, which takes a lot of time, but leads to greater success of sustainable diversity in the workplace.
If you could thank any Black woman history maker for her contributions to society, who it would it be and why?
I would definitely start with the trailblazers that changed life for African Americans as a whole, but if I could thank a woman that is alive it would be Oprah Winfrey for being a living example that you can achieve things on your on terms, in your own way, while also giving back and doing good. The work she has done to change TV, upgrade schools, provide children with educational opportunities and telling her personal story is the mark of a powerful woman. She has elevated African American women and her impact is also felt by all women and even men.
If you could have any person as your mentor who would it be?
I would love to be mentored by Ursula Burns the first CEO of a fortune 500 company. She is bold, unwavering, smart, has a point of view and led without losing herself; which has always been my mission.
Why is important for seasoned and experienced Black women to reach back and help younger women of color?
While there seem to be more opportunities for women of color, there are still micro-inequities that exist in business. As a result, experienced African American women have the opportunity and obligation to help the younger women navigate the system to ensure they and avoid the pitfalls and achieve success.
How do you feel about the hashtag #CollaborationOverCompetition? What qualities or values do you deem indispensable in your business partners or collaborators?
I believe that collaboration is the key to success and I find it essential to effectively scale businesses big and small and deliver first class quality work. The qualities that I look for in my business partners are professionalism, depth in strategic thinking, quality outputs, functional expertise, shared vision [and] goals and great communication skills.
What are your thoughts on taking risks? Making mistakes?
To be successful there are risks that are required. Whether that risk is as low as having to hear “no” or as high as losing millions of dollars. Regardless of the level of risk, my goal has always been to be as properly informed about the risk and have a plan B before moving on plan A.
What are three success habits you implement into your daily routine to maintain your success, sanity, peace of mind, etc.?
- Remain a continuous learner by staying abreast of industry [and] societal shifts, changes and technological advances. 2. Plan a clear action plan that is focused on clear objectives that I break down into daily actions to guarantee results 3. Inspire and treat everyone with respect and love.
As a successful woman in marketing, what is your greatest or proudest achievement?
I have so many professional achievements that I’m proud of, which include leading several billion-dollar brands in the US (Powerade, Gold Peak, Fuze, eat), rolling out global campaigns/initiatives in 200 countries or carrying the torch to strengthen African American marketing at the Coca-Cola Company. Even after 17 years amazing contributions at the Coca-Cola Company, the thing I’m most proud of is starting my own fashion company that is on a mission to disrupt the luxury loungewear/sleepwear segment, by delivering functionality, comfort and style all at the same time. I want to be a voice for women and give them something that they have been asking for, but no one has provided an answer.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?
My biggest inspiration is my mother. She leads by example and has always pushed me to stand tall, dream big and never lose who I am in the journey of life. Her mission to inspire goes well beyond me, she has been on a life journey to inspire thousands of women to walk their own path of entrepreneurship, while remaining my biggest cheerleader as I have transitioned from an “intrapreneur” to an entrepreneur. She has shared her vision and passion with her visionary twin sister. They both reinforce that women are stronger when they lead together.