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ZORA
Unapologetic. Ours. A publication from Medium for Black women.

Business

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In the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the protests that followed, many companies, businesses, and organizations were reflecting on how they could do a better job of promoting equality and ending systemic bias in their workplace. For help, they turned to Akilah Cadet, an Oakland-based community leader and activist who, through her company, Change Cadet, advises companies and CEOs on navigating and implementing social justice.

“I dismantle white supremacy. I do this for Fortune 500 companies, global brands, foundations, and nonprofits,” Cadet said in an interview with The Bold Italic. “I also educate the…


7 tips on how to turn personal experiences into success in the workplace

Photo: Sam Edwards/Getty Images

There are not many women of color who can say they hold a senior leadership role in their jobs. The higher up the corporate ladder, the fewer women you will see occupying positions, and it’s more limited for women of color. According to Catalyst’s Women in Management research, 10.8% of women of color held management positions compared to 32.3% of White women in 2019.

But Laura Silva and Gloria Jimenez are part of that 10% and they’re hoping to make space for more. At 27 years old, Silva is the vice president of accessibility technology UX design lead at Bank…


Black people literally have to work twice as hard to get half as much

Black woman with serious expression working on her laptop, looking out the window.
Black woman with serious expression working on her laptop, looking out the window.
Photo: Maskot/Getty Images

A version of this story originally appeared on the Medium blog, Capital Innovations @ Collab Capital.

Since I’ve been able to work, I’ve worked multiple jobs. During summers growing up, I worked in the businesses started by my grandparents in Mobile, AL and passed down to my father and his siblings. You could find me doing everything from working the register at their BP gas station to preparing sandwiches in my father’s Subway. When I went to college, despite having a full ride academic scholarship at Howard University, I took full advantage of work study opportunities — working “security” in…


Opinion

Small businesses need an influx of capital to thrive

Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

When met with hardship, the human psyche responds by reacting, adapting, and recovering. This is especially true for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs and small-business owners, who are no strangers to experiencing surprises, change, and hard times. Once faced with the global Covid-19 pandemic, we saw these businesses tested, and they adapted and pivoted to survive. Our businesses are continuously tested, and that’s what makes us resilient leaders — skilled at being resourceful, versatile, and creative to the core. It’s this ability to be resourceful even in a crisis that defines our resilience, but that resilient spirit often makes business…


Second-act careers for women vanish with the demise of department stores and malls

A graphic illustration of a big store with a “store closing” sign wrapped around it. Women wait in line 6 feet apart.
A graphic illustration of a big store with a “store closing” sign wrapped around it. Women wait in line 6 feet apart.
Illustration: Nashra Balagamwala

It was a job rooted in routine. That’s what I thought at first when my mother worked for JCPenney in a suburb of San Diego in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a customer service representative in the catalog department. She worked evenings, taking orders over the phone and giving people their items when they went to pick them up in the store.

But the job, I would later realize, was so much more than servicing customers. I now see how significant JCPenney, and other retail institutions, are for women. …


This situation highlights the lack of security in our industry

A closeup photo of a hair stylist cutting a client’s hair.
A closeup photo of a hair stylist cutting a client’s hair.
Photo: Vystekimages/Getty Images

The salon industry’s job growth has consistently outperformed the overall economy in 11 of the past 14 years. It is touted as a career that offers you the ability to be your own boss, travel, and connect with clients, forging relationships across racial lines and class differences. That growth may falter in the wake of Covid-19’s catastrophic impact, particularly Black and Hispanic communities around the country. The results disproportionately put marginalized workers into the crosshairs of the demands of richer — and often White—clientele.

Black and Latino business owners in the beauty industry are far more likely to be self-employed


Monitor

Small business PPP loans aren’t going to the communities that need them most

A photo of a black woman holding up a “CLOSED” sign in front of her store.
A photo of a black woman holding up a “CLOSED” sign in front of her store.
Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images

In almost every crisis faced in our country’s 243-year history, it has rallied and, usually, come out on the other side as better than before. It’s why, for so long, we collectively believed in the concept of “American exceptionalism.” The idea being that in comparison to much older nations, we are — as the musical Hamilton attested—“young, scrappy, and hungry” and constantly innovating our way into the future. Except, what’s become apparent under the Trump administration’s utter failure to stop the Covid-19 crisis from upending everyday life is that America is only as exceptional as its leadership.

Deficient of the…


They built successful small businesses but now are forced to close their shops. Here’s how you can help.

A photo of a black woman getting her hair done by a woman of color at a hair salon.
A photo of a black woman getting her hair done by a woman of color at a hair salon.
Photo: Peathegee Inc/Getty Images

Celebrity nail tech Tacarra “Spifster” Sutton travels between New York City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta to do nails. And not just any old nails; the 31-year-old creates nail art for the likes of Megan Thee Stallion, Danielle Brooks, and Janelle Monáe. The week before Covid-19 took over the news cycle was the week she was busy applying stained glass nails and French tips. She’s been praying to God for the opportunity to “chisel out a week or two to focus on me and chill out.” She never imagined the coronavirus would be that reason.

She made the inevitable announcement around…


Hateful online reviewers attempted to take down Beatrice Dixon’s company. Instead they helped double business sales.

Bea Dixon.

When Target asked Bea Dixon to star in a Black History Month and Women’s History Month commercial to market her menstrual and intimate care business, The Honey Pot Company, she was overcome with gratitude. It was a big moment to raise the visibility of her company and to spread her message of empowerment for young Black girls. “The reason why it’s so important for The Honey Pot to do well is so the next Black girl that comes up with a great idea could have a better opportunity. …


The Cake

Investing in entrepreneurs can be easier than you’d expect

Photos courtesy of the author.

Investing is one of those things that often seems out of reach, like something other, fancier, wealthier people do. Even if it’s something you’re interested in exploring, you might have felt like the path to getting there is unclear or inaccessible. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Investors aren’t just White guys who went to expensive colleges. I look like an investor. You look like an investor. You can become an investor.

Anybody can be an investor, and there are many paths to getting there, no matter your background. In fact, an overview of the paths of some…

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