August 13, 2017

15th Annual LBW Leadership Symposium

Call 708-506-3111 today for registration for 15th Annual LBW Leadership Symposium May 24-26, 2017 at Atlanta Marriott Marquis.



Full Symposium Registration Link One


Crain’s Survey Reveals Why Women Leave Their Jobs

A new survey commissioned by Crain’s and executive women’s group the Chicago Network reveals a startling statistic: Of the 1,000-plus women who took the survey, 42 percent voluntarily left positions within the past five years because they didn’t feel recognized and didn’t see opportunities for advancement. That’s 2 women for every 5 across a breadth of industries who are highly concentrated in management, upper management and the C-suite.

Pay predictably topped the list of reasons why women stay or go: More than 650 (44 percent) women who took the survey believe they don’t make as much as their male counterparts. Another 30 percent aren’t sure. Women with children didn’t tend to make less, but some report feeling discriminated against in other ways.

Of the over 1,500 women who voiced what they want in the workplace, the majority placed pay and a respectful relationship with management at the top of their list.

Read the full article and check out the results from the Crain’s Chicago Business survey.

Study Shows Black Professionals’ Emotional Factors in Predominately White Workplace

black-female-professionalTo be a black professional is often to be alone. Most black doctors, lawyers, journalists, and so on—those in white-collar positions that require specialized training and credentialing—work in environments where they are in the racial minority.

This comes with challenges. Beyond outright discrimination, which many still face, there are psychological costs to being one of just a few black faces in a predominantly white environment. In a study of black professional workers in a number of different occupations, I found that these employees worked to carefully manage their emotions in ways that reflected the racial landscapes they inhabited.

In particular, black professionals had to be very careful to show feelings of conviviality and pleasantness, even—especially—in response to racial issues. They felt that emotions of anger, frustration, and annoyance were discouraged, even when they worked in settings where these emotions were generally welcomed in certain contexts—think litigators interacting with opposing counsel, or financial analysts responding to a stressful day on Wall Street. Interestingly, this often played out at trainings meant to encourage racial sensitivity. Many of the black professionals I interviewed found that diversity trainings—intended to improve the work environment for minorities—actually became a source of emotional stress, as they perceived that their white colleagues could use these trainings to express negative emotions about people of color, but that they were expected not to disclose their own honest emotional reactions to such statements.

One of the most interesting recent contributions to this area of research comes from legal scholars Mitu Gulati and Devon Carbado. In their book Working Identity, they argue that while everyone needs to create and put forth an “appropriate” workplace identity, for members of minority groups—women of all races, racial-minority men, LGBTQ people—this becomes particularly taxing because their working identities must counter common cultural stereotypes. For example, black men may feel compelled to work longer hours as a way to repudiate stereotypes of a poor work ethic among blacks. To make matters more complicated, such strategies can backfire, reinforcing other stereotypes: Working those long hours may lead colleagues to assume that the workers lack the intellectual preparation needed for high-status professional jobs.


Read the full article at The Atlantic here

Black women and children continue to struggle despite job growth

Despite the upward change in the economy and improvement in job growth from 2013 to 2014, Black women continually struggle financially, according to the US Census Bureau. Unfortunately, with the struggle of Black women comes the affects that it has on Black children.

For Black children, the poverty rate has increased about 3.4 percent in recent years, which is three times that of White children and the opposite of what is happening to most other groups of children, where the poverty rate has dropped.

The struggle to be financially able also brings up the ongoing issues of African-Americans in the workforce as a whole. “Black households have just 59 cents for every dollar of White median household income, says economist, Valerie Wilson of the Economy Policy Institute (EPI) and the Director on the Program on Race, Ethnicity, and Economy.

Wilson, who spent time analyzing the 2014 full-time, full-year earnings to the 2009 earnings numbers, found that although Black men’s earnings have slightly increased, they are still 70 cents on the dollar compared to White men.

African Americans have the highest poverty rate at 26.2% whereas Whites have the lowest at around 10%.

Click here to read the full Electronic Urban Report article.






A Wage Discrimination Series: How to be a Powerbroker


Cook County Commissioner Robert B. Steele, Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, and Columbia College are co-hosting the second seminar, How to be a Powerbroker, in the three-part Wage Discrimination series. The seminar will be a discussion by Women CEOs and Presidents on how women can position themselves as leaders in their industry.

Panelists include:

Sandra Finley, Board Chair, President & CEO, League of Black Women

Cheryl Maletich, Vice-President of Distribution Operations, ComEd

Dorri McWhorter, Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago

Emilia DiMenco, President/CEO, Women’s Business Development Center

Andrea Ralia, 12th District Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues Commissioner, Senior Tax Analyst, Raila & Associates, P.C.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Columbia College Hokin Lecture Hall

623 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL


Parking lots are located on two corners of Wabash and Harrison. The parking tickets from the parking lot on the N.E. Corner of Harrison & Wabash Avenue ticket can be validated at the security desk. Street meter parking is also available.

 Please RSVP to April Williams-Luster at

Why Silicon Valley Is Failing Miserably At Diversity, And What Should Be Done About It

Angelica Coleman

Angelica Coleman

SAN FRANCISCO — When Angelica Coleman, a young African-American woman, walked into the offices of Dropbox Inc. for a job interview in October 2013, one of the first things she noticed was how nobody there looked like her. When she quit this February, one of the last things she was told by her direct manager was that if she wanted to keep climbing the Silicon Valley corporate ladder, “you need to go somewhere else.”

“It’s disheartening to look around you when you walk into a tech company of the size and caliber of a Dropbox, Facebook or Google: You know they’re making big impacts on everyday life for tons of people, they have money and they are a good company with good products, but you look around as a black person and the only people who look like you are the help,” Coleman told International Business Times. “That’s really hard.”

Last year, Silicon Valley acknowledged it had a diversity problem, and companies like Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and many others made bold public commitments to fix it through “diversity reports” breaking down the gender and racial balance of their workforces. This year, as the tech industry starts releasing their first progress reports, this situation is still grim and progress has been negligible. It’s clear the Valley remains a hard place to get or keep a job if you’re a woman, black or Hispanic.

Click here to read the full International Business Times article.

Black Women are the Fastest-Growing Group of Entrepreneurs in the Country

ThumbsupblackwomanDespite declining jobs numbers, economic stagnation, and fiscal woes, Huffington Post reports that “the number of women-owned businesses grew by 74 percent between 1997 and 2015. That’s 1.5 times the national average of business growth .”

The publication continues that “…the number of businesses specifically owned by black women is outpacing that of all women-owned firms … [having] grown by a whopping 322 percent since 1997.”

Nearly 1.3 million companies in America are owned by Black women. That’s nearly half of all businesses owned by African-Americans in the country. These firms employ hundreds of thousands of workers and account for nearly $53 billion in earnings.

On average, there were 500 new minority women-owned businesses that started up every day in 2014. Of those, 223  businesses that opened per day were African-American women-owned firms. When the revenue growth of the companies owned by Black women during this time frame is compared to companies owned by women of other minority nationalities, those owned by Black women clearly top the charts.

The states with the highest growth in women-owned firms are Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, North Dakota and New York. Those with the slowest growth are Alaska, West Virginia, Iowa, Kansas, and Maine. The states with the lowest growth are not necessarily the lowest income producers, however. The states with the lowest economic impact from women-owned firms are Iowa, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and Ohio.

The sectors with the greatest numbers of women-owned firms are health care and social assistance — followed by educational services, which is the fastest-growing sector, up nearly 140 percent since 2002. Women also own a small percentage of construction businesses and firms. Their economic impact in these areas is equal to or exceeds that of their male counterparts.

In a time of increasing racial unrest and growing turmoil around the county, it is great to see that some things are improving and equalizing in America. While some of the success may be attributed to the push for the Black community to support Black-owned businesses, that would hardly account for the consistent and persistent growth of Black women-owned businesses. Instead, it is likely that a segment of society was tired of the status quo and decided to make a difference.


Click here to view the full Financial Juneteenth article.

LBW Presents New Webinar: The Fabulous Fake vs. Real Black Women

150612092018-rachel-dolezal-split-exlarge-169League of Black Women Presents:

The Fabulous Fake vs. Real Black Women

Having Our Say – with Sandra Finley, LBW President

In the midst of the recent Rachael Dolezal controversy, the civil rights activist who posed as a black woman, there has been a lot of  heated debate and speculation about what she did and why she did it. Dolezal parlayed her impersonation into leadership opportunity by misrepresenting herself as a black woman for career gain and social access.

But, rather than focusing on the Dolezal’s nearly decade-long stunt, LBW President, Sandra Finley, has a different take on this story that has dominated the news ways – focusing on the state of the real black women in today’s workplace through the LBW research study, “The State of Black Women In Today’s Workplace – Daughters of The Dream: Their Lack of Sponsors, Support and Promotions,” which reveals the true and troubling state of Black women authentically working for leadership opportunity.

Join Sandra Finley in an upcoming webinar that identifies the struggles of the undoubtedly and unsympathetically black, professional women.

Register for Friday’s Webinar, join the discussion and find out what LBW knows about your real chances for leadership in today’s workplace. 

Click here to Register for our free Webinar this Friday, June 19 at 6pm CDT: 

Password is: lbw2015

Questions? Contact:  or(708) 506-3111

LBW President, Sandra Finley, Talks Advancement Road Blocks with Crain’s Magazine

Here’s what’s really blocking black women’s path to advancement

By: Sandra Finley

SandraFinleyTo understand how well professional black women are faring in the workplace, you need only look at the abysmal statistics reported annually as the “gap” between white and black women in corporate leadership. Black women working to build their careers struggle to avoid being forced into the gap by institutional practices that effectively suppress their career development. With the exception of a rare few outliers, most are trapped in the lower regions of the corporate pipelines, off the critical leadership grids for succession planning.

For our newest survey, “Daughters of the Dream: Their Lack of Sponsors, Support and Promotions,” the League of Black Women asked 273 professional black women—nearly 75 percent of whom hold advanced degrees—about their experiences as they try to cross the bridge to leadership opportunity at work.

More than 72 percent told us the greatest barrier to advancement was lack of sponsorship and access to senior leaders who can advocate for their advancement. As a result, 35 percent said they hadn’t been promoted in five years or more.

Our survey reveals that the prospects for upward mobility for black women are grim—and that is a real problem for them and the companies they work for. Today, we still have just one black female CEO in the Fortune 500, Ursula Burns of Xerox. Women of color make up just 3.2 percent of corporate boards. In 2012, just 5.3 percent of black women were employed in managerial and professional roles, while white men made up 70 percent of executive teams and 68 percent of corporate directors.

Black women respond to the barriers by redoubling their efforts to reach for leadership opportunity by pursuing advanced degrees more than ever, and taking on the mounting debt that goes with them. However, lack of support for advancement, especially in positions with profit and loss responsibility, will impede ROI on work experience and those degrees. That affects long-term wealth creation if corporations continue to suppress the economic gains that would result from removing institutional barriers to leadership opportunity for black women.


Interestingly, white men came in second (21.5 percent) behind other black women (41 percent) as most supportive mentors of black women. While mentorship is important, it is not the same as sponsorship—influential senior corporate leaders who publicly endorse proteges. We need access to sponsorship because it affords access to the protected privilege that powers the way corporate America works. To move up to leadership opportunity, that must be tapped.

Savvy CEOs will step up and send a warning to their executive reports. “Here’s your bottom line: Black women with advanced degrees, the requisite number of years and manner of experience, are stuck in our pipelines while others advance around them. Eventually, we will lose them. And the business intelligence and competitive advantage that they distinctively contribute here, every day, follows them out the door to our competition.”

For companies, it comes down to this: If diversity and inclusion are such modern imperatives, why are black women so egregiously undersponsored? It is illogical to expect talented, highly educated black women to remain anyplace that does not meet their leadership ambitions with deliberate talent development investment, access to executive sponsorship and a transparent measurement for success that supports the talent pool of succession planning.

The majority of our respondents said they do not share their career plans with senior leaders. Black women, for their part, must eschew outdated advice to keep our heads down, work hard and hope for the best. We are the best of the best, and we require the challenge and reward of leadership opportunities with critical assignments that will reveal that we are the women who have come to make the decisions that shape our world.

Loretta Lynch Appointed as First Black Woman Attorney General

NA-LYNCH_101422461705Loretta E. Lynch’s long wait to become U.S. attorney general ended Thursday, with the Senate voting 56 to 43 to confirm the veteran New York prosecutor five months after President Obama submitted her nomination to Congress.

Lynch is expected to be sworn in as the nation’s 83rd attorney general Monday, according to Justice Department officials not authorized to comment publicly.

Obama said in a statement that “America will be better off” with Lynch in charge of the Justice Department. “She will bring to bear her experience as a tough, independent, and well-respected prosecutor on key, bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform,” he said.

Lynch is the first African American woman to be nominated for the post, which has taken on a higher-than-usual profile in the Obama administration ­because of the leading role the Justice Department has recently played in the debate over race and policing across the country.

For Lynch, the time between nomination and confirmation was the longest for an attorney general nominee in 31 years. In the end, the confirmation vote margin was wider than expected: Ten Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), joined the Senate’s 44 Democrats and two independents in supporting Lynch. Forty-three senators, all Republicans, were opposed.


Click here to ready the full Washing Post article.