Cari Champion is a revered broadcast journalist who hosted ESPN’s SportsCenter Coast to Coast and most recently teamed up with Jemele Hill for the weekly talk show Stick to Sports on Vice TV. As Cari continues to be a champion in her career, she also dedicates her time to ensuring opportunities are available to future leaders.
Cari Champion started Brown Girls Dream two years ago to use her experiences in the media industry as a catalyst for the next generation of badass females to be prepared and ready to lead. Young women of color between the ages of 18-27 are paired with mentors in entertainment, sports, and the arts in an informal support system.
“Ultimately Brown Girls Dream is about empowering young women to dream huge and set goals beyond anything that we can imagine,” Champion tells BLACK ENTERPRISE. “It is really about the young women seeing it and believing it. There is nobody who looks like me saying you get the job. It is just so extremely rare that brown girls are seeing brown girls in decision-making positions.”
Unfortunately, opportunities do not come to women of color the same way they do for others. According to the Center for American Progress, women of color represent only 4.7 percent of executive or senior-level officials and managers in S&P 500 companies.
“I believe the talent I have, the point of what I do for a living, and the life that I have been blessed with means nothing if I do not give back,” declares Champion. “Exposure and networking are so important and that is what Brown Girls Dream is. A collective of highly talented young women who are being mentored by women who look like them in various industries that are killing the game.”
Serena Williams is a great example of the type of connection that the young women of Brown Girls Dream have the opportunity to encounter. The tennis legend hired an executive assistant from the Brown Girls Dream organization.
Champion continues, “Serena Williams is just one example of many in the short time that Brown Girls Dream has been in existence.”
Former ESPN personality Hill, who will co-host on the upcoming Stick to Sports with Champion, is one of the program’s mentors. As the co-founder of Lodge Freeway Media and a writer for The Atlantic, Hill brings the leadership, insight, and experience that all of the mentors come equipped with.
The dream team of mentors includes Dana Kirk, Global Creative Marketing at Netflix; Bozoma Saint John, Chief Marketing Officer at Endeavor Global Marketing, and Vice President, Affiliate Marketing of Disney and ESPN, Kimberly K. Wilson.
“We collectively have a goal to ensure that the girls coming through Brown Girls Dream hear yes,” exclaims Champion.
“My mentors understand the challenges that many highly qualified women face in the industries they represent. The more our girls hear, “Yes you can, yes you are valued, and yes you have the job,’ the more bad-ass brown girls will have a universal impact.”
To learn more about Brown Girls Dream visit www.browngirlsdream.org