Sheryl Lee Ralph And More Keynote Sistas In Sales Attend Inaugural SIS 100 Power List Honoree Gala
“Sistas have always been in sales,” Sheryl Lee Ralph told BLACK ENTERPRISE just minutes before she gave a keynote speech at the inaugural SIS 100 Power List Honoree Gala.
Donning a chartreuse pantsuit, the Emmy award-winning actress, singer, director, author, and philanthropist shared just how nostalgic it was for her to think about the movement that is Sistas in Sales. “My whole life is about sales,” she told BE. “I’ve always known a Black woman leading their entrepreneurial ventures.”
Founded by Chantel George in 2017, the Sistas in Sales Summit celebrated its sixth year by hosting its annual summit, presented by Walmart Connect, at the Glasshouse Midtown West in New York City. On Sept. 21, the organization held a star-studded event where corporate sellers in all stages of their careers showed up and showed out.
The gala was special, George told BE, adding how important it was to honor the individuals who have had an impact on the organization’s development. The plan is to honor 100 sellers every year.
“It’s very unclear how to navigate the world of sales past a certain point of your career. If you are the only woman of color on your team and you may not have a connection with your manager, they may not vouch for you. And that’s that vouching you need to get out of that position and unlock your career,” George explained.
“I challenge that diversity and business are in two separate places. Diversity and inclusion [are] here by the fact that we’re all women of color, but that doesn’t mean that the bar is lower as it pertains to business and sales excellence. We bring those two together.”
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Bevy Smith was a keynote speaker at the gala. She graced the stage to Drake’s “Fancy,” fully embracing what could be the soundtrack to her own incredible transition from a fashion advertising executive to TV and radio host. Smith told BE that she had to learn how to navigate the white male-dominated sales industry by being tenacious and self-confident. She advises that one of the first lessons to learn in sales is that there is always a way to turn a “no” into a “yes.”
Erin Gossett, a NYC-based client account manager at Pinterest, attended the gala and the summit in hopes of finding a community to help her grow further in her sales career beyond her professional role. She was motivated by development opportunities like the Sistas in Sales summit, learning soft skills and prioritizing mental and physical health.
“Being exposed to all the ways and products I can sell has the imagination running wild and is fueling my energy to continue learning and getting better with time,” Gossett told BE.
“I have struggled with finding a community of other Black sellers, women and men, and have been actively seeking to find these spaces. Thankfully, Sistas is Sales has presented me with the opportunity to help overcome the visibility struggles I’ve had in the past.”
Founder George told BE that she has since created other initiatives, which she calls “birds of a feather,” to keep “pushing this global expansion and finding other women in sales around the world that can relate to us.”
“I’m a salesperson. It’s been the only job I ever had. Because I run a sales organization, I have access to amazing talent. My sales team [is] incredible, and they all understand the best ways to work with our partners. It’s a win-win.”
She added: “The vision is to grow to 30,000 by 2028, and our reach is close to 10,000. We are on our way.”