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As a seasoned business strategist, I've made a career out of creating growth strategies that revolve around the business's value propositions. Now, I've come to adopt that strategic mindset when it comes to career advancement as well. How have I done that? Simply put: I remove the personal and strategize myself as I would a brand. I document short-term goals that balance my skills and my values. I hold myself accountable for growth in designated areas of my position outside of company-specific performance metrics. And I maintain a level of self-awareness and acceptance by analyzing my professional self as I would a potential target market. All of that professional strategic planning is used to create a roadmap to growth and, from there, advocate in a way that provides gains: financially, promotionally, and personally.

A few months after I left my corporate job as the Head of Merchandising for Old Navy Online, I walked into the Everlane concept store in preparation for an upcoming meeting at their corporate office. As I looked around trying to find an outfit, a feeling of alienation came over me. From the perky twenty-something sales associate that looked at me askance when I walked in, to the array of androgynous, box-llooking, nondescript apparel, it was clear that I didn't belong. I finally landed on a streamlined navy dress that was seemingly appropriate for my meeting — a nothing special, medium quality, basic dress that felt like a millennial uniform. I never wore that dress again.

I'm a change-maker. There is a point in every change-maker's life when she decides that she's going to stop complaining about the current state of affairs and do something about it. I was fed up hearing statistic after statistic about the gap in access to capital for women-led businesses, so I decided to do something about it. Based on my passion, we were able to attract enough investors, team members, capital providers, and supporters to gather $500 million in financing for women-led ventures through EnrichHER.

I'll admit — I'm not naturally a morning person and if I didn't have a family to take care of, my morning routine would probably look something like this: wake up when I feel like it, shower (alone without kids asking for breakfast), take supplements, drink coffee, go for a walk, eat breakfast, then start working. However, my current phase of life doesn't allow me to have such a leisurely morning routine.

It's not about the riots; it's about persistent injustice. Black people in America often have to accept racism, economic exclusion, and unequal access to healthcare. On top of that, we are more susceptible to death in the pandemic. Given all these oppressive factors, it should not be difficult to believe the anger surrounding the murder of George Floyd. There is video evidence of four officers' involvement, and they weren't even arrested. This was simply the tipping point for a community that couldn't take it anymore.

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