Black Women in Leadership @ California’s Top 100 Companies

By Kellie Todd Griffin

Among all women who serve on the Board of Directors and in Executive Roles at the top 100 companies headquartered in California, Black Women represent 12% and 9% respectively. Overall, they represent 4% of Boards and 3% of Executives. The road to the top for Black Women continues to have barriers. It will require intentionality and practice #transformation for meaningful change to occur.

This Fall, CA Black Women’s Collective Empowerment Institute will launch its Black Women’s Leadership Certificate Program and Black Women’s Workers Initiative.

Historically, Black Women have secured roles in the public sector, which helped catapult them into middle class. As changes in recruitment strategies and budget allocations changed, Black Women weren’t turning to public sector jobs as career path.

The Black Women’s Workers Initiative is a pathway program to secure employment opportunities for Black Women in the public sector. This program recruits Black Women including those from vulnerable communities and former foster youth. It will prepare participants for careers to work in local municipals in roles represented by labor unions. The program will be five sessions of soft skill training along with job preparation coaching along with wrap around service integration. There are two pathways to this initiative – Ready to Work and Pathway to Work. The Collective will partner with labor unions and municipals to secure funding for the training program and staffing. Community and faith-based organizations serve as partners to ensure participants receive the wrap around support, they need to qualify for public sector employment.

The Black Women’s Professional Leadership Program is a professional development certificate program designed for Black Women who are ready to lead or new to leadership. This is a leadership development program focused on providing Black Women with the tools they need to flourish in their professional lives. Black Women only represent 3% of executive leadership in the top 100 companies headquartered in California. Although, more than 360,000 Black Women work full or part time jobs, many find it difficult to move up the corporate ladder. Without mentors and coaches, Black Women are shut out of leadership roles even if they have the skill sets and desire to reach higher professional levels.

This 10-week Saturday course is designed for California Black Women to provide them with a wide range of interactive and culturally relevant learning sessions that will enhance their leadership actions. Students will build the necessary leadership skills as they learn to plan for leadership, the process of leadership and the practice of leadership. They will leave with an authentic leadership style that includes new ways of approaching leadership, confidence, and fresh perspectives to add more value to their company/organization as well as their professional action plan.

The course objective is to strengthen their leadership skills and learn the process and practice of leadership to help you expand your career goals. This includes conducting a self-assessment that will help you build a professional action plan with a roadmap to success. The Collective’s learning model is Plan, Process and Practice™ which curated with three modules – Plan to Lead, Process of Leadership and the Practice of Leadership. It ends with a capstone project to present a personal leadership model.

The Collective will focus on these initiatives along with advocating for issues that are important to Black Women. There is also an opportunity to support and create policy that will impact California Black Women and Girls. The California Black Women’s Collective Empowerment Institute will work with policy makers and advocates to develop priority actions and opportunities to eliminate barriers that Black Women face when trying to uplift their economic circumstances.

For more information about the California Black Women’s Collective Empowerment Institute and the California Black Women’s Think Tank, go to


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