Earlier this month, my husband sent me an article by Beth Kowitt from fortune.com featuring two videos about a woman that I really look up to, Mellody Hobson. Hobson is the President of a Chicago-based mutual fund company and investment management firm known as Ariel Capital Management, LLC and is pretty much a boss in every conceivable way. One of the many things I love about her is that she isn’t afraid to discuss the challenges caused by race and gender in corporate America.
In the first video (found here), Hobson boldly proclaims that she has stopped apologizing for being black or for being female. I’m sure that any black woman that has been in either spaces where you were the only black person or the only woman or maybe the only black woman, you can relate to not wanting to make other people uncomfortable by pointing out your otherness. When I first saw this video, I nearly cried because it made me realize how I’d been apologizing not only for my race and gender, but for every part of me that made me different from those around me.
Growing up, I loved to read and write, and I simply just loved the sound of the English language. Certain black people would say that I talked too “proper,” or talked “white.” Certain non-black people would say, “She’s so articulate” as if I was not expected to be articulate. The moment that I got POPPED (positively optimistic and powerful), I stopped apologizing or feeling guilty for talking in a way that felt natural to me because of someone else’s insecurity. I realized that living in purpose and on purpose is about being bold about who I am. No one can happily reach their version of success by apologizing for who they are. Simply, “I’m not sorry no more.”
In the second video of the article, Hobson talks about something that everyone can relate to, no matter your race or gender, which is the company you keep. Hobson talks about how the people around her make her want to be better, work harder, and think bigger. Everyone can relate to having at least 1 person (or several) around you that always has something negative to say whether it’s criticism of what you’re doing or complaining about their situation (without taking any responsibility for their own hand in it). For every two steps that you take forward, these type of people will pull you one step back. When I decided to be positively optimistic and powerful, I made a pledge to myself to be the type of friend that I want to attract and to put myself in social environments with people that I want to be like. It is up to us to become the type of people that we can be, but we can’t do it surrounded by people that want us to stay the same.
My (imaginary) mentor talked about a host of other things in this article so I highly recommend reading the whole thing, but that’s all I got so until next time, stay POPPED and hold it down.