Leadership Spotlights

“Uneasy is the head that wears the crown…” and during a pandemic and period of social unrest, it can really take its toll. BFM spoke with three leaders in the REDI field of work on how they manage to lead successfully as Black women, the challenges they encountered while on their career path, what they do to stay sane, and the advice they would offer a mentee in the same industry (or beyond).

Jessica Heard, Chief of Equity & Inclusion, National Center for Teacher Residencies.

Heard studies the works of Black scholars to gain insight on having a work-life balance. “Drawing upon intellectual leaders from a variety of eras, helps me to know the struggles I am going through aren’t unique or new.”

Kerrien (Kay) Suarez, Executive Director, Equity in the Center

Suarez previously worked at a firm where she recognized that she was a ‘diversity hire’ and that race was only discussed when it highlighted the firm’s work in the community. “Build into your schedule time for you to stop working, especially after a long or difficult project, to avoid burnout.”

Joy Bentley Phillips, Chief Advancement Officer, Academy of Hope

Phillips’ position at AoH is the first time in her career that she is not the only POC in the room making vital decisions. “It’s important to use your calendar as offense and defense: working offsite, blocking time to reflect, strategize, and for professional learning opportunities.”

About the National Center for Teacher Residencies.

NCTR advances a network of high-performing residency programs dedicated to preparing highly effective teachers that will transform educational practices nationwide.

About Equity in the Center

Equity in the Center envisions a future where nonprofit and philanthropic organizations adopt a Race Equity Culture focused on proactive counteraction of social inequities.

About Academy of Hope

Academy of Hope is an adult public charter school in Washington D.C., offering excellence in adult education since 1985. As a Washington, DC-based workforce development and adult education provider, our mission is to provide high quality adult education and services that change lives and improve our communities.

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