Breaking Bias in Corporate America
When I think of the many contributions and accomplishments of women of color, my friend Aisha Young comes to mind. Aisha was born in Washington DC and raised in Houston, TX. She attended and graduated with honors from Florida A&M University with a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Sales and a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law. Throughout her professional career, she’s worked in the corporate arena for Fortune 500 companies, as well as in the legal arena with law firms, government agencies, and businesses, while also holding management positions. More recently, she’s branched out and added entrepreneur to her professional accomplishments. Aisha states, “Being a professional Black woman of color is a badge I wear proudly, boldly, and without reservation.”
Experiencing and Addressing Bias
Aisha has encountered bias on several occasions from colleagues, managers, clients, and even subordinates. For example, 1) “[o]h, I didn’t know you were Black. You don’t sound Black. You are so articulate.” Or 2) mistaking passion and outspokenness as anger. Over the years, she’s addressed biases by using the following keys: 1) acknowledge them for what they are rather than just accepting them; 2) openly address them in the moment; 3) educate the other person; 4) be prepared if the other person is unwilling to or incapable of correcting their behaviors; and 5) move on and keep fulling your purpose. Her advice to other woman, remain true to yourself, focus on your own path for success and professional aspirations, and then surround yourself with like-minded, goal-oriented, business professionals.
Telfia Y. Muckeroy
Breaking Bias in Healthcare
Telfia went to Texas Southern University which is a historically black university located in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Texas Southern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy. Telfia has worked in the healthcare industry for over 30 years.
Early in her career, she experienced many situations where she was undervalued, underestimated, and marginalized. As a pharmacist, very often she was placed in unsavory neighborhoods as if her race meant she could handle working at a retail chain pharmacy store that actually looked like a prison! She’s had employers and fellow colleagues question her background and credentials. She’s had customer’s request someone else to provide consultation because they didn’t think she was a pharmacist… “Not you, I’m waiting on the pharmacist!” Telfia has experienced many biases in her career. Her advice to other women—“know your worth. Live and speak your truth. Never let someone else define you!”
How to overcome bias?
- Don’t take it personal. Most people aren’t really being rude. They’ve just been conditioned to think and behave a certain way. YOU must stand in your truth and remain calm.
- Find JOY.
- Don’t take it home. Leave it at work and don’t even pick it back up when you return to work. Remember, every day is a new chance to get it right. Say to yourself, “Today is a good day for a good day.”
Breaking Bias in Humility
Tasha Temple is a Health, Wellness and Lifestyle Expert with a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and a Master of Education in Counseling and Development.
She defines herself as a holistic-minded, forward thinking practitioner who is credentialed as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
Her professional experience in wellness, nutrition and agriculture spans over 20 years. She spearhead comprehensive diet, mental wellness and medical nutrition therapy programs to all 8,000-10,000 employees of a major city municipality. She’s been employed with 2 major hospital systems in the United States, Atrium Health and Northside Hospital as a Nutrition and Wellness expert.
As an entrepreneur, she co-founded a non-profit organization entitled Grape Roots Inc. that serves as an educational movement in farming and agriculture. She created Mind and Temple LLC, a consulting firm aimed to increase holistic global wellness through individual nutrition counseling, corporate strategies and media. She also launched a web based platform and podcast entitled “Minding My Temple” designed to deliver knowledge on how to explore true balance in life by simply integrating all aspects of wellness.
Listen to Tasha’s story and message regarding breaking bias…
Breaking Bias in the Armed Forces
As a Soldier, Amber faced frequent bias because of her gender. While serving, she was part of an Army-wide program intended to get medical providers into units called Battalions. For Amber this was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to be on the front-line providing treatment to Soldiers. While in this unit, she ran into multiple instances where her gender was seen before her competency and skill were respected and appreciated. She was often the only female in meetings and typically the only female in the room.
Acknowledge and respect my experience and skills
Amber recalls, “While on rotation through Poland, the Brigade commander asked me about a Soldier’s disposition, and then “confirmed” my opinion with a male of higher rank who had absolutely no medical knowledge!” Despite her doctorate degree, Amber still wasn’t seen as knowledgeable informed professional in her practice.
How Amber Overcame!
- Advocate for proper protocols and procedures within your direct scope of expertise.
- Advocate for yourself.