Kelley Cornish , T.D. Jakes

T.D. Jakes Foundation CEO, Kelley Cornish, Uses Platform To Uplift Black Women In Corporate, Entrepreneurship

Longtime diversity and inclusion executive Kelley Cornish is using her platform to change the conversation on how Black women approach corporate America and entrepreneurship.

The T.D. Jakes Foundation president and CEO is committed to her activism for Black women in the workforce to elevate and thrive on a larger scale.

“There is a trend with Black women leaving corporate America for many reasons, including a lack of leadership support and recognition while feeling undervalued in their roles in the workplace more than any other racial group,” Cornish said, according to The Washington Informer. “This is on top of their personal struggles where many are juggling caregiving, insufficient health advice, finances, and access to capital needed to create advancement and generational wealth. We want to be part of the solution for these women.”

A 2020 report from Lean In showed only 1.6% of Black women make up vice presidents, and 1.4% of Black women serve as executives in corporate America. Cornish is aware that, in many cases, Black women are first-generation corporate employees. “There is so much many of us didn’t know when we entered corporate America,” she said. The 54-year-old advises African American women to get familiar with the modes and customs of working in corporate America. One area she believes Black women fall short of in terms of corporate behavior is in their approach to seeking higher pay. The CEO wants women to understand the power of effective networking and mentorship.

Breaking away from corporate America and into entrepreneurship can come with its challenges. However, Cornish empowers Black women to take the leap and create something of their own. “You want to show the world what you can do. You want to move on from the company because you no longer want to be stifled,” she said. Seeking capital is one of the challenges business owners face. The executive’s tips for getting capital include building a strong relationship with bankers, securing investors, and broadening your network.

Through Cornish’s position with the T.D. Jakes Foundation she is committed to inspiring the youth to explore careers. “I want to work to make sure that young girls get into careers and not become hourly employees,” she said. “We want to help them get out of poverty. Our leader, T.D. Jakes is mind-boggling. He is ready to pour back into people who want to better their lives.” Bishop Jakes, senior pastor of the megachurch The Potter’s House, is confident in Cornish’s ability to lead the foundation as the team works collectively to uplift communities and transform lives.

Cornish has served as an executive of diversity and inclusion for Wells Fargo, TD Bank Group, AmeriHealth Caritas, and the Children’s Museum of Philadelphia.

RELATED CONTENT: Serita Jakes, Wife of T.D. Jakes, Launches Home Collection Line to Help Others Create Sacred Space