Repost from @crownholdersinc:
THIS SISTAHOOD STORY IS SOMETHING TO HOLD ON TO! I HAD TO SHARE IT AND HOPE YOU WILL GO TO HER PAGE AND COMMENT.
Sharing Deanna Burrell’s story:
I want to switch up the conversation around #BlackWomenAtWork. Here’s my story. My first two jobs in corporate America/advertising, I had two Black women managers and my experience with both was challenging. The second was downright awful and she let me get fired from that job so I decided I never wanted to work for a Black female manager again. I had been fired from ClearChannel (which is now a badge of honor) and I knew I wanted to stay in sales, but I was done with radio. I wanted to work in TV.
I called an older NU/Starcom alum who was now a media director and asked if he could help me find something. He calls me back a week later saying he has the perfect sales job for me at WCIU. I asked about the manager. He tells me she’s a sista. NOPE! I told him that path has not worked so far. He assures me that I will love her, she will love me and I’ll learn a lot from her. Cool. We meet, we click, I’m hired and he was right.
Mileta was/is amazing. One day I ask her to be honest…I can take it…is there anything I need to work on. She tells me that my attire isn’t professional enough. She knows I wearing the same party/inexpensive clothes I go dancing in after work. She says she knows I probably can’t afford suits because I’m working a 100% commission gig and just building my client base so she wants to buys me a couple of suits. The next time there’s a sale at her favorite department store, she’s going to take me shopping.
The day comes. She’s got a bunch of 20% coupons from the newspaper (remember those) and we leave work early to go shopping! (I love advertising sales.) I try on A LOT of high-end, professional clothes, get her feedback, get the sales ladies’ feedback, (I feel like a princess) and then narrow my pile down to the things that work.
Now, I’m in the dressing room and feeling mad nervous because I’m not sure how the next part is going to go. I didn’t know how much she felt comfortable spending so I bring out my YES-pile and say, “these are the things that work. If you give me an amount, I pick out my favorites.”
PAUSE…She thinks then says, “No, let’s get everything.” I’m shocked. FLABBERGASTED…I promise to pay her back because it’s too much.
She says, “The way the pay me back is to pay it forward. In your career when you meet other bright sistas, help them like I’m helping you.”
Now I have never executed the ultimate BOSS move of buying someone a wardrobe (I got close, but she wasn’t ready so I backed away), but I definitely go out of my way to help my sistas. If I see her nervous in the waiting room about to interview, I go speak and give her my card if she has any questions. I take my younger sistas to lunch and drinks…and I ALWAYS pick up the tab.
I love to mentor, listen to her challenges, makes suggestions, and make networking introductions. I never see a sista at work and think she is my competitor. I am and will always be my sista’s keeper because that’s the seed of SISTAHOOD that was sown into me. Lana Brown…please tell your mom I said hi!
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