I've been called a bitch more times than I can remember. Let me put it this way, if I were given a dime every time someone called me a bitch, I'd be on a private island riding out this pandemic in luxur
My name is Audra Gold, and I am the CEO and co-founder of the ground-breaking online audio streaming platform, Vurbl. I started to build websites in college, where I became obsessed with the Internet. After college, I began my career as a product manager at a Silicon-Valley-based digital media company and have been hooked on startups ever since. I took my first Head of Product job for a startup about 12 years ago and have gone on to build products for seed stage companies through Series A, B, and beyond several times over. My primary motivation for taking on one of the hardest jobs in tech is the satisfaction I get from building great products and then watching millions of users enjoy them.
A Black, 14-year old, female, middle school student is tackled to the ground and handcuffed by a resource officer because she wanted to go to the school's health office. A white teacher assigns a slave trade enactment as a class project, assigning Black students to the role of being slaves. A teacher insults Black students and their parents in front of the entire class, causing Black students to tell their parents to not come to the school. These instances of anti-Black racism are happening in schools across America today. Over the summer, the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey, and others have shined a light on longstanding anti-Black racism in the US and, more specifically, in education.
Like so many millions across the globe, I deeply mourn the loss of one of our greatest real-life superheroes, Chadwick Boseman. To pay tribute and homage to him, my family rewatched his amazing performance in Black Panther. T'Challa was one of Boseman's most important roles both on and off the screen, as his portrayal of the heroic warrior and leader of the people of Wakanda inspired viewers of all ages. Re-visiting the futuristic city of Wakanda on screen caused me to reflect on how Blacks in America once had our own version of Wakanda: Black Wall Street.
Before I had a kid, I was convinced that I could handle anything. I'd worked my way from community college to the University of Michigan to a job at Google to a career in television hosting. I was no stranger to late nights, weekly business travel, and the never-ending grind of building a career. It was all I knew for the entirety of my 20s. I'd been through successes and failures. I'd made immense sacrifices, and I became almost too good at functioning on three hours of sleep and lots of caffeine. No sleep or free time? Come on—I would have this motherhood thing in the bag. I had it all figured out.
"More grapes, please," my daughter asked, as she continued to color her Peppa Pig drawing at the kitchen table.
"What do you say?" I asked her, as I was about to hand her the bowl.
I shook my head.
I stood there.
"I want green grapes instead of red grapes?"
I shook my head again. I handed her the bowl of green grapes. "Thank you. Please don't forget to say thank you."
"Thank you, Momma!"
"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it. I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then became to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and to provide a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.
After I exchanged enough information with the Uber driver to confirm that neither one of us was likely a serial killer, the spotless sedan was quickly filled with enough small talk to occupy the brief ride. "What do you do?" "I'm a writer." "Ah, what do you write?" At the time, I was deep in writing my debut non-fiction book, Raising the Resistance: A Mother's Guide to Practical Activism, and had been busy typing away about feminism, reproductive justice, antiracism, and other topics that don't normally come up during a short Uber ride with a stranger but had consumed my work and much of my life. "I'm writing a book," I responded. "Oh! About what?" "Motherhood and political activism."
Risha Grant is an internationally renowned diversity, inclusion and bias expert. She is Founder & CEO of Risha Grant LLC, an award-winning diversity consulting and communications firm, as well as an edgy, educational and motivational speaker, and author of That's BS! How Bias Synapse Disrupts Inclusive Cultures.She covers these topics as NBC KJRH TV News 2 for You's community correspondent, host of the JustUs series, and through her Tulsa World column, Risha Talks. She has been featured in Forbes, The Financial Times, Off Script, Bloomberg Media, Black Enterprise, Radioactive Radio, Take the Lead Radio and WURD Radio among other podcasts, local and national media.
As the Head of Diversity and Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Marketing at Unilever, Mita's efforts to build an inclusive culture are being celebrated. Under her leadership, Unilever was named the #1 Company for Working Mothers by Working Mother Media in 2018. She also co-created the first of its kind Cultural Immersions series to increase the cultural competency of marketers training over 4,000 marketers to date.
Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is an entrepreneur, business leader, linguaphile, philanthropist, feminist, and mother. After living, studying, and working in five countries across the globe, Liz started TransPerfect out of an NYU dorm room. During her tenure as Co-CEO, she grew TransPerfect into the world's largest language solutions company, with over $600 million in revenue, 4,000+ employees, 11,000+ clients, and offices in more than 90 cities worldwide. Liz has been recognized as a NOW “Woman of Power & Influence", an Enterprising Women “Enterprising Woman of the Year," and one of Forbes' “Richest Self-Made Women."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get any of the professional advice you need from this pioneering professional!