ColorComm is Preparing The Next Generation of Women for Leadership - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

For nearly nine years, ColorComm has helped women of color within the communications industry level up in their careers. Through the network, members are able to participate in monthly programs, webinars, and conferences. And, no matter where women are on the corporate latter, the organization offers opportunities for upward mobility.

Last week, one of those opportunities presented itself as the 2nd Annual C2 NextGen Summit held at Chelsea Piers in New York City where 300 professionals gathered. The summit was designed by some of the industry’s leading ladies for women ages 35 and under. As a part of the initiative, 57 ColorComm Fellows from around the country gathered to learn from industry leaders and network.

The fellowship program is an exclusive program committed to cultivating the next generation of leaders in communications, public relations, advertising, marketing, media, and digital. The extensive program sponsors young multicultural talent, recent college graduates and entry-level professionals to attend the ColorComm NextGen Summit, to join the ColorComm Network, and to learn from professional mentorship and training.

This year’s C2 NextGen Summit focused on wealth creation, diversity in the workplace, marketing, and negotiation.

Attendees were able to hear and gain insight from Lauren Wesley Wilson, CEO of ColorComm; Shawn Outler, EVP, Chief Diversity Officer at Macy’s, Inc.; Angela Yee, Nationally Syndicated Radio Host and Business Owner, iHeart Media; Syeedah Smith, Financial Professional Associate at Prudential Insurance Co. of America; Alicia Rodgers-Alston, Vice President, Global Communications, Prudential Financial; Sallie Krawcheck, Co-Founder and CEO Ellevest; Bonin Bough, Founder, Bonin Ventures; Nadine Blackburn, Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Outreach, EA; and many more.

ColorComm

Angela Yee, Syeedah Smith, Financial Professional Associate at Prudential Insurance Company of America; Alicia Rodgers-Alston, Vice President, Global Communications, Prudential

 

Here are some of the key takeaways from the event:

Wealth Building Advice from Sallie Krawcheck, Co-Founder and CEO, Ellevest

  1. Make more money.
  2. Take care of yourself while you make more money.
  3. Work towards living by the 50, 20, 30 rule. 50% of your income goes to your needs, 30% to fun, and 20% goes to future you.

Advice from Women Under 35 to Young Professionals

 Advice to their younger-selves

“It’s OK to ask for help.” –Zara Rahim, Senior Director of Strategic Communications, The Wing

“It’s OK for your plan to go a little off of the rails.”  –Nikki Ogunnaike, Deputy Fashion Director, GQ

“You have to get rid of your game plan – be rooted in the convictions of what your dreams are.” –Alencia Johnson, Director of Public Engagement, Presidential Campaign for Senator Elizabeth Warren

“Don’t take everyone’s advice. In the words of Michelle Obama, ‘A lot of people who you want to impress are not as smart as you think they are.’” –Erica Lovett, Director, Inclusion & Diversity, Conde Nast

“Have a side hustle, own your side hustle, and let people know about it.” –Brooke Devard Ozaydinli, Product Marketing Manager, Partner Marketing, Instagram

“Don’t wait for permission. Fill in the blanks where you can.” –Daniella Pierre-Bravo, Booking Producer, MSNBC

On taking risks:

“You have to be in tune with yourself to be able to follow your gut. You have to go for it, but, you have to do an internal gut check first.” –Zara Rahim, Senior Director of Strategic Communications, The Wing

On learning:

“Your experience is your expertise. Don’t let people second guess yourself.” –Alencia Johnson, Director of Public Engagement, Presidential Campaign for Senator Elizabeth Warren

“When you feel like you’ve stopped learning then it’s most likely time to go.” –Nikki Ogunnaike, Deputy Fashion Director, GQ

On managing up in the workplace:

“You are in charge of your own career, know when to speak up, know when you’re not happy.”

Be vocal and learn how to communicate effectively in a way that you feel comfortable.” –Brooke Devard Ozaydinli, Product Marketing Manager, Partner Marketing, Instagram

Negotiation Tips from the Top

“If the first time you’re advocating for yourself is at the negotiating table then it’s too late. Don’t wait until you’re talking about money to let people know what you’re doing.” – Daniella Pierre-Bravo, Booking Producer, MSNBC

“It’s not a negotiation if you’re not willing to walk away from the table.” –Zara Rahim, Senior Director of Strategic Communications, The Wing

“Find a recruiter that’s a friend who will help lead you in the right direction.” –Erica Lovett, Director, Inclusion & Diversity, Conde Nast

The day ended with a highly anticipated keynote on how to negotiate everything with body language expert, Linda Clemmons.

As the day wrapped up, Wesley Wilson, encouraged all of the young women to pursue their dreams as she once did at the age of 25 when she founded ColorComm while in search of the very support she has been able to create for women.

“I really want to encourage you all to take what you’ve learned today and share with a colleague or with a friend. Continue this opportunity to advance yourself and to open up the doors for more opportunities,” said Wesley Wilson.

She went on to say, “I too encourage all of you to start somewhere if you have an idea. You don’t have to wait until you have a really big title at a really big company. You don’t have to wait until your 40s or 50s. You can start right now. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to have all the money in the world. You just have to start.”

As ColorComm approaches its ninth year as an organization, excellence remains the standard.