CEO Perri duGard Owens explains why it’s important to have women in leadership

What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
An encouraging piece of advice that I would give my younger self includes lean into your passion — and try to determine it as quickly as you can — master it, and then go focus on another. Based on firsthand experience and mounds of research, success within a traditional agency environment, largely provides upward mobility to White males and then White women. After working in a prominent southeastern firm, it dawned on me that I would never succeed there. It wasn’t built to understand me or the culture I brought to the table.

Why is it important for women of color to work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?
Women of color need to be in leadership roles and decision-making capacities to influence, direct and guide how companies talk to communities that may not (traditionally) look like their current leadership or board of directors. Without women of color at the table, companies end up making decisions like placing a Ft. Walton Beach beach vacation out-of-home billboard, featuring a young, White family, in the middle of a historically African American community a couple weeks after George Floyd was murdered. Active leadership provides an informed view.


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