Former Girls Inc. CEO Joyce Roché Knows She Deserves That Seat at the Table

Featuring a broad cross-section of women who have distinguished themselves across a rich variety of careers, our Portraits of Power series is a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Black Enterprise, and of black women. It’s a place for today’s businesswomen to share their own favorite images and their own stories, in their own words. Today’s portrait is corporate trailblazer Joyce Roché, author of The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success.

Joyce M. Roché

Board Director, Macy’s; Retired CEO of Girls Incorporated; Author

My first job was as a merchandising planner with Avon Products.

My big break came when I made a bold move to leave Avon to take a position with Revlon when my forward movement at Avon began to stall. Two years later I was asked to return to Avon and a couple of years later became the company’s first female African American officer.

I’ve had to work hardest at conquering the impostor syndrome, that feeling of self-doubt that made me question whether I was good enough.

I never imagined I would have reached the heights I have achieved in corporate America.

I wish I’d learned sooner that I did deserve THAT place at the table.

The risk I regret not taking is … I can’t think of one. I have taken a lot of risks, mostly in terms of bold career moves often when others didn’t quite understand why, but each of those moves have paid off.

If I could design my fantasy self-care day I would be waking up in a sunny place, being pampered all day, laughing a lot, and having fun with the people I love.

Very little keeps me up at night.

When I’m struggling, I say to myself,  “What is the worst thing that can happen?” and when I realize that whatever it is is not going to kill me, I move on from there.

I am unapologetically happy with my life. I have worked hard for a long time to be at this place, so I am enjoying my life.

Portraits of Power is a yearlong series of candid insights from exceptional women leaders. It is brought to you by ADP.