Bestselling Author Minda Harts Started Out Delivering Phone Books

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 Minda Harts, an Adjunct  Professor of Public Service at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and author of The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table.

Minda Harts


My first job was delivering yellow pages phone books.

My big break came when I leaned into my courage—articulated my value and quantified my worth.

I’ve had to work hardest at public speaking. I took classes and coaching for many years before I felt comfortable owning the stage.

I never imagined I would become a bestselling author of a career book written with the experiences of women of color and black women at the center of the career narrative.

I wish I’d learned sooner that I am my best advocate, no one can tell your career story better than you.

The risk I regret not taking is not taking a job opportunity in Australia. I think it would have added to my leadership résumé.

If I could design my fantasy self-care day, it would be spent waking up listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday podcast while sipping my favorite green tea. Then reading a couple of my favorite books while wrapped up in a quilt my grandmother made for me with Thelonious Monk playing in the background. My day would be spent at home, surrounded by love and great snacks.

Hoping that I made the workplace better for the women who are coming behind me keeps me up at night.

When I’m struggling, I say to myself, in the words of Audre Lorde, beware of feeling like you’re not good enough to deserve it.

I am unapologetically Black and Proud.

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

Minda Harts will be a speaker at the 2020 Women of Power Summit, March 5-8 at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Register here to join us!