Leadership begins with a woman – The Quinnipiac Chronicle
A powerful leader fighting for a better future walks through the door. Who did you imagine? Have you seen a white man in a dry-cleaned suit or a Vietnamese woman with purple hair?
Hang Black is vice president of revenue enablement at Juniper Network. She advocates for women’s leadership in the workplace, restructuring how women should be included.
“There’s been a lot of effort (to improve the workplace for women), a lot of programs that have been designed without the target audience being included in the design,” Black said.
The Quinnipiac People’s United Center for Women & Business presented Black with the Impact Award during its inaugural Eileen Peters Farley ’68 speaker series on March 30. The series was in memory of Farley’s legacy in the Quinnipiac community as one of two women who took business classes. in the mid 1960s.
Farley’s daughter, Jessica Geis, expressed her mother’s impact.
“His superpower was not just in his relentless work ethic and incredible ingenuity, but also in seeing the incredible potential in others and giving them the courage to believe in themselves and take risks while ‘she encouraged and paved the way for success,” Geis wrote in a post on LinkedIn, reflecting on the speaker series.
Farley paved the way for women in business, and Black does the same decades later by advocating for women to be heard in the workplace.
“These ladies from QU had attended the Converge Technology Solutions EmpowHer event I hosted last year,” Geis wrote. Our keynote speaker was Hang Black. (Dr. Kiku Jones, Dr. Julia Fullick-Jagiela and Hannah Hejmowski) read Hang’s book and unanimously voted her as the esteemed recipient of the Impact award.
Black encourages women to embrace their unique identity in the workplace, even if the corporate world was not designed for them.
“Meritocracy works for a while when you’re a visual contributor,” Black said. “It’s really important to think about networking and branding, which is uncomfortable…I just learned how to do it in a way that’s not only authentic, but vulnerable and compassionate. That’s the
the advantage of having more women and leadership is what the powerful feminine adds to the equation.
Black learned to throw away the formulas that were written for white men to be successful, like networking with who you know and climbing the ladder. She overcame adversity by navigating the darkness without inheriting access.
“What do brown people do when they don’t succeed? Put your head down and work harder,” Black said. “I went to the (ER) twice. In the taxi back, I said to myself: ‘OK, no more. Something has to change. Life gives you signals that I just haven’t listened to. Those success formulas out there don’t work for people like us, because they weren’t written for people like us by people like us, who share our human experience.
Black didn’t stop fighting when she was hit with a whirlwind of obstacles — the death of her parents, three layoffs, a move across the country, involvement in a lawsuit and a few burglaries. She decided enough was enough.
“I really didn’t like the phrase ‘Don’t be afraid to fail,’ it’s a very privileged statement,” Black said. “With the adversity I’ve had, I can’t really afford to fail, but what I would say to my younger self is that it’s good to experiment.”
Each guest at the event received a copy of Black’s book, “Embrace Your Edge.” Black noted that someone without access must establish trust and competence.
“Distrust of misfits is biological,” Black wrote. “And the only way to fix it is to flip the script…As a minority woman with no access, you’re already starting on your back…You can’t control bias, but you sure can control your production.”
Black points out that the journey to success doesn’t start with a free handout.
“(Access is) not an invitation to the room, and inclusion does not guarantee access,” Black said. “Do you know your role in the room? You serve ? Are you seated? Are you speaking? And for me, I defend myself.