Rolling Out

Shaylon Scott is helping diverse-led small businesses grow and thrive

Shaylon Scott is the executive director of Founders First CDC

This Sisters with Superpowers story is sponsored by Chevy.

Shaylon Scott is helping diverse-led small businesses grow and thrive
Photo courtesy of FFCDC

Shaylon Scott is the executive director of Founders First CDC, a national nonprofit and small business accelerator that helps diverse small businesses grow and thrive. She’s an award-winning speaker, nonprofit executive, community leader, entrepreneur, and published writer.

What do you consider your superpower to be?

I consider my voice as my superpower. I’ve always felt at home on the stage or in front of the camera and I learned early on that words have power and responsibility. Words are the beginnings of every great work from speeches to literature and art. It all starts with an authentic and unique voice. 

What key skills or qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?

The ability to create relationships beyond the normal transactional[s] that lead to lifelong support across all fields. There are relationships I’ve established and maintained from my very first job until now, and they are all equally as valuable to my overall success and growth. In the nonprofit and government sectors there is a large overlap among colleagues, so it’s important to never burn bridges in a role or you’ll encounter the remains later in your career. 

What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

I would encourage my younger self to bet on me earlier in life. It wasn’t until I was much older that I had the strength to listen to myself and choose what I wanted to do. It all paid off but I could have avoided years of uncertainty and doubt if I had just listened to my inner voice pushing me to greater heights. 

Why should women of color work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?

It’s important for women of color to work in leadership roles so that others have a model to strive towards. Mentorship and key connections in executive roles have been primarily afforded to those from similar backgrounds, and that tends to not be those from the BIPOC community. The more women in leadership, the more we can pave a clear pathway for younger generations as they discover their passions and interests. It’s harder to picture yourself in a role where you’ve never seen anyone that looks like you. 

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