Marilyn Loden coined the phrase “glass ceiling” in 1978, but more than 40 years later, that invisible barrier to success that many women — and particularly women of color — face in their careers is still, unfortunately, an ongoing issue. As we inch closer to equity becoming the norm one day, it’s important in the meantime to continue to lift up minority voices and spotlight their journeys to strengthen the movement. Read on to celebrate a few of these Black women who have overcome adversity to start their own companies and learn from the challenges they’ve faced, plus the career advice they have for other budding entrepreneurs.
Maya Madsen, founder of Maya’s Cookies
Encouraged by friends and family when her homemade cookies were a hit at birthday parties, Maya Madsen started her San Diego-based company in 2015 and quickly became a fan favorite for her unique, entirely vegan concoctions. “I am excited that now is the time where Black-owned businesses are getting the recognition they deserve. With this increased attention to maintaining diversity, it allows small Black-owned businesses to link together to create a stronger community in the present and a more equitable world for future generations. I am all about reinvesting in my community. It’s not just about my success, it’s about sharing that success with my peers, vendors, suppliers, and fellow entrepreneurs. It brings me such pride to know that I can contribute to building a stronger community,”she says. “I’m a big believer in allowing all boats to rise, our social media manager coined the phrase, “When Maya’s Cookies succeeds, we all succeed” since so much of my business revolves around collaboration with other small businesses while also maintaining a philanthropic mindset, especially when it comes to supporting underserved communities, especially youth in the foster care system”.
Her career advice: “First, believe in yourself. Keep pushing past setbacks. Second, be prepared, do your homework, and know what resources are available to you. Find mentors and other people you respect to serve as counsel and a sounding board.”
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