What do you think are some of the causes of youth violence?
The breakup of the family is the cause. I’m not just talking about the inner city; I’m talking about all across the board. As adults we have to take some sort of responsibility for this. Without sounding too preachy, I have to say that more people need to start using condoms. People need to assess what they’re actually able to take care of, not just regarding money, but regarding time. If there are better family structures then parents don’t have to worry about the outside world influencing their children.
You’ve successfully overcome some personal challenges in your past, what is something you’ve overcome in your professional career?
Even when you deal with your counterparts who happen to be your race, you still have to deal with the obstacle of sexism. It’s on the rise, and minority women need to understand that they are battling both. My public persona is light and fun, but a lot of times men take that as frivolity. But when I go to a board meeting and put on my game face they’re like, “Whoa, where did that come from?” You can’t wear the same hat regarding every part of your life. There are many men who feel that we need to do nothing but be secretaries, or barefoot and pregnant. I’ve been running with men in terms of prestige and salary for quite some time and I feel like I’ve broken down the barrier. I’ve blazed a new trail.
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.